minutia setup

November 15, 2006 – January 12, 2007

Legacy Maltwood (at Mearns Centre – McPherson Library)

Robert Kelly’s Minutia installation consisting of eleven “conceptual books” arranged on lecturnes in a thirty-foot circle. The title of the exhibit refers to the minute details in time. This project was inspired by a conversation with colleague which touched on words written by a Chinese immigrant who moved from Hong Kong to Vancouver. In a letter to his wife to encourage her to move to his newly adapted country, he penned the words “the first time I heard the sound of a page turning”. This was in reference to the relative quiet of his newfound land. Kelley found this sentence quit profound and realized, even though he turned pages every day, he was completely unaware of the sound of pages turning.
The essence of this work is that awareness of minutiae is fundamental to meaningfulness. Words from the English language were used as vehicles to explore this concept. This is linked to the contention that our experience of the world is defined through our language. This installation takes components from language, isolates them and recontextualizes them to create a stage for an exploration of the meaningless/ meaningful dynamic.

Each word from the sentence fragment “the first time I heard the sound of a page turning” is the subject of a conceptual book that comprised the main part of the installation. The eleven books are titled accordingly: The Book of The; The First; The Book of Time; The Book of I; The Book of Heard; Another Book of The; The Book of Sound; The Book of Of; The Book of A; The Book of Pages; and the Book of Turning. Each of the eleven books consist of a table of contents, foreword, preface, body of text and epilogue. Each one of the books are conceptually diverse.

The Book of The – This book consists of 307 pages of the word “the” written conscutively with a space between each word. This book is purely the isolation and repetition of a definite article from our language.

The Book of First – Foreword by Tonya Seyer. This book is based on the premise that no experience is ever repeated… everything is first.

The Book of Time – Foreword by Dr. R.F. Williamson. This book is a metaphor for different concepts of time. Each chapter explores time differently.

The Book of I – Foreword by Donald Kelly. This book deals with the concept of self. Each page contains an “I” statement relevant to the artist.

The Book of Heard – Foreword by Jeff Paittinson. This book deals with the concepts of past and present. Facing pages have oppositional paris of verbs in past and present tense.

Another Book of The – Foreword by Eric Cameron. This book is identical to the first except that text begins to fade and eventually disappear.

The Book of Sound – Foreword by Paul Woodrow. This book uses onomatopoeia to construct literal acoustic environments.

The Book of Of – Foreword by Ray Arnatt. This book takes “of” phrases from existing works and places them on a page in their exact location without any other text around.

The Book of A – Foreword by Jon Luna. This book simply repeats this indefinite article consecutively coupled with other words.

The Book of Pages – Foreword by Jamie Lafond. This is a book of pages.

The Book of Turning – Foreword by Derek Dunwoody. Page one consists of the words “the first time I heard the sound of a page turning” written along the bottom. The second page has “the second time I heard the sound of a page turning” written along the side of the page. The third page has “the third time I heard the sound of a page turning” written upside down along the top of the page. This pattern continues to the end of the book.