Instantiation, actualization, and absence: The continuation and safeguarding of Katie Paterson’s future library (2014–2114)

Castriota, B. (2021) Instantiation, actualization, and absence: The continuation and safeguarding of Katie Paterson’s future library (2014–2114). Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, 60(2-3), pp. 145-160. (doi: 10.1080/01971360.2021.1977058)

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Over the last two decades, the conservation field has developed new frameworks for works that recur in multiple manifestations, such as many time-based media, installation, and performance artworks. Within these frameworks, authenticity is gauged primarily on a manifestation’s perceived compliance with the artist’s directives or specifications for the work. Such models have proven difficult to apply in practice when faced with artworks in protracted states of creation, that have an existence outside the walls of the collecting institution, and whose manifestations are dispersed and distributed in space and over time. This article examines how Future Library (2014–2114) – a century-long public artwork by the Scottish artist Katie Paterson – confounds the two-stage model of an artwork’s creation, and the conventional understanding of the artwork instantiated and made present in discrete, physical objects or events. Drawing upon Deleuze's philosophical writings, I characterize the varied ways in which an artwork or object of cultural heritage may be made present and may undergo change, while forever remaining partial, deferred, and absent. This article considers how the scope of what falls within the conservator’s gaze might be widened, and how an artwork’s conservation and creation might be understood as interdependent and concurrent acts of safeguarding and continuation.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: This research was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the H2020 Marie Sklowdoska-Curie grant agreement No. 642892.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Castriota, Dr Brian
Authors: Castriota, B.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities
Journal Name:Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1945-2330
Published Online:20 October 2021

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