Struggles with Images

Parker Kay
Reception:
Toronto Reference Library

The chair is uncomfortably low and the keyboard lays flat. Traces of past ergonomic preferences reference previous users of the work station. On what seems to be a barely illuminated monitor, a search queries the library’s catalogue:

Call Number “779.0973 M39,” Location “Stacks Request Reference S-MR,” Status “In Library.”

And another.

Call Number “700.285 B58,” Location “Arts 5th Fl Reference Open Shelf,” Status “In Library.”

Struggles with Images is a site-specific installation that uses the picture collection of the Toronto Reference Library to address the shifting nature of the image from an analog object to a dematerialized digitally entity. Situated between the stacks of the picture collection, Kay presents a curated selection of images depicting windows and their reflections hinting at the allegorical meaning of these architectural features. Acting as a top-down Camera Obscura, the architecture of the Reference Library itself exemplifies this shift with the physical prints from the Picture Collection dematerializing into a more fluid form within the Digital Innovation Hub on the first floor. Presented in a vitrine and as a series of window-mounted vinyl compositions Struggles with Images makes physical the layered experience of viewing images online. In a circular gesture, Kay brings the physical space of the picture collection back into the digital through a new video work available at parkerkay.com/struggles-with-images.

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