During my recent “return” to the Koerner library at UBC, I came upon a small installation in the foyer by the artist Luis Camnitzer. It is a collection of discarded objects Camnitzer found on campus, each mounted with a randomly chosen piece of text. The viewer is invited to make connections between the objects and the words. The pedagogical associations are inevitable, considering the location of the work – a major university library, and this aspect is underscored by the take-away card/advertisement, which lists a series of books available in the UBC libraries, related to the exhibition (even giving their call numbers).
I found the installation interesting and humorous and enjoyed looking at each object, reading the text and trying to make associations between the two. The installation plays with traditional theories of meaning, displacing direct relationships between object and word, and offering instead meaning produced in the moment, in an continuously changing and unstable relationship between the signifier and the signified.
(image: detail of installation by Luis Camnitzer).
This project brings to mind another art project, a superb blog posting, entitled “Daily Drawing Project” by the artist, Elizabeth MacKenzie. (check out the engaging drawing project Elizabeth gives her students). Art and pedagogy on multiple levels.