Originally opened at Mana Contemporary, in Jersey City, in August of 2018, and newly re-installed at the Monira Foundation in 2021, The Milcom Memorial Reading Room and Attention Library is a space devoted to the study of attention in the broadest sense — which is to say, to the ethics, aesthetics, and politics of the focused mind and the directed senses. A creation of the research collective known as ESTAR(SER), this installation houses a book collection, a portion of ESTAR(SER)’s archives, and an exhibition of archival objects that bear on the historicity of the so-called “Order of the Third Bird” (a self-sequestering body of attentional artists, known for giving themselves to works of art in collective, durational rites of trance-like intensity). Presenting a hybrid lounge and office environment, the Reading Room invites visitors to to engage with endangered practices of close and sustained attention. This special space, which has regular open hours on Fridays and Sundays, is named after Learned “Hogfoot” Milcom (1928–1972), an editor and archivist whose labors were crucial to the re-founding of ESTAR(SER) in its modern form.
(photo courtesy of Zachary Hoos)