Trappings

2006–2008

Interventions in the print collection

A library is one of the last refuges for the demo­c­ra­tic poten­tial of a shared cul­tural con­scious­ness, a true pub­lic com­mons. Read­ing takes many forms here — at times it is a very directed, instru­men­tal pur­suit of par­tic­u­lar forms of knowl­edge, at other times it is more intu­itive, a men­tal wan­der­ing, where one book leads to the next, through foot­notes and bib­li­ogra­phies, and through brows­ing in the stacks.

Trap­pings is a series of dis­creet inter­ven­tions into the VPL print col­lec­tion. They trace the research con­ducted by the artist for her writ­ing, teach­ing, and art mak­ing. Roy researches and col­lects infor­ma­tion for par­tic­u­lar projects, such as one related to the let­ter X, and more recently, one related to the let­ter Q. More gen­er­ally, her research inter­ests include con­cepts such as nomadism, nature, por­trai­ture and prop­erty. In Trap­pings, Roy imag­ines a book as a tem­po­rary loca­tion where a nomadic researcher lingers, explor­ing how the slips of paper, small images and notes might find another reader of the same text at dif­fer­ent time. These sub­tle book inter­ven­tions cre­ate new men­tal paths to fol­low, by insert­ing infor­ma­tion related to the topic of the book, or by lead­ing the reader to the other books in which she has inter­vened. These ephemeral mes­sages, seem­ingly acci­den­tal, speak directly from one reader to another and add another voice or point of view to the pub­lished text. Thought­fully pro­duced, they engage the curios­ity of fel­low read­ers within the labyrinth of the col­lec­tion, and may con­tra­dict or com­pli­cate the orig­i­nal author’s inten­tions. Over the course of Group Search, Trap­pings maps the book col­lec­tion with the path of her inquiry, and shares the many plea­sures to be taken in her work. Roy doc­u­ments her on-going process by not­ing the call num­ber, title, and other clas­si­fi­ca­tion data; the con­di­tion of the book, a descrip­tion of what was left inside the book and/or a pho­to­graph of her intervention.

Image: Courtesy of the artist. Group Search was made pos­si­ble through the invalu­able con­tri­bu­tions of The Canada Coun­cil for the Arts, the BC Arts Coun­cil, the Spirit of BC Arts Fund, the Van­cou­ver Foun­da­tion, Emily Carr Insti­tute of Art and Design and Gen­er­a­tion Printing.