For centuries, the library was the lifeblood of culture, the central repository of Western intellectual activity. Nowadays, we think of the library as a cemetery, where the written word, as it’s presented in newspapers, magazines and even books, goes to die; where printed matter exits its period of relevance and enters its period of neglect.
Most of these publications are being replaced by their online counterparts. Several titles photographed in the process of this project have been destroyed. Searching endless rows of utilitarian text, I am struck by the physical mass of knowledge and the tenuousness of printed work as it fades from public consciousness. Hunting for and photographing these objects is fundamental to my process. I do not touch, light, or manipulate the books – preferring to document them as found in the stacks, created by the librarian, and positioned by the last unknown reader.
Mickey Smith (b. 1972, Duluth, MN, USA) lives and works in New York City. She received a B.A. in Photography from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 1994. Images from her Volume series have exhibited in New York, China, and Russia. Smith has received the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Photography as well as grants from Forecast Public Art Affairs, CEC ArtsLink and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She is represented by Invisible-Exports in New York. Mickey will have a solo show at VOLTA NY 2010 in March.