creating a collaborative installation

Grayson James at the Ryerson Image Centre and the installation/project After Alexandria

I became interested in this project at a point in my life when I was experiencing a loneliness unlike any I had before. As an avid reader, I found myself turning to literature to mitigate these feelings. I began to read books almost exclusively borrowed from the library. These books were marked-up, damaged, dog-eared, and coffee-stained. It is through the bodily experience of encountering other readers through the traces that they left behind that I began to think of these books as a medium through which I was able to engage with others. Their notes had gravity, reminding me that as alone as I might feel, I am actually part of a broader conversation, of a micro-history, and of a community that supports me in ways that are impossible to articulate.

With this project, I aim to find a kind of reading that is done in solidarity, not in solitude, and to celebrate the ways in which objects that are owned and shared by the public become beautiful because they are used, not in spite of this fact.

What I like about this intimate work room with chairs, tables, pens, pencils, a photocopier, index cards and Post-it notes and of course the collection of books is the asynchronous nature of the possible exchanges. (The objects move: the gallery wall is periodically hung with photocopies of some of the interventions.) Not every reading (walk through the space, browsing of a book) leaves a traces. But those that do are displaced in time and curated. It really makes me think of the temporalities embedded in the circulation of written and printed material. How something grows beautiful from usage. I was touched by simple copy of the last page of Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler — impressed by how the typography makes the page into self-contained unit — something that would have passed me by if someone else hadn’t passed by and Grayson James hadn’t exposed the product of that encounter on the wall and William Weaver translated from the Italian and

italo calvino - ending of If on a winter's night a traveller

And so for day 2608

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