Doretta Lau discusses an encounter with the publication The Uncanny: Experiments in Cyborg Culture from the Library Collection

 

Image: Cover of <i>The Uncanny: Experiments in Cyborg Culture</i>.
Image: Cover of The Uncanny: Experiments in Cyborg Culture.

In 2014, before I joined Asia Art Archive, I was working on a short story called "Robot by the River." My editor felt I needed to add a new section; I had a week to write another 1,500 words. After some thought, I decided that my characters should visit the Vancouver Art Gallery. In order to achieve this, I needed to confirm some facts about an exhibition held at the VAG, The Uncanny: Experiments in Cyborg Culture, which took place 9 February–26 May 2002. Even though my story is a work of fiction, I wanted to recreate the atmosphere of seeing art in the months after 9/11 using a real show. I hoped to capture the feeling of an unfolding personal tragedy within the context of a greater historical event, while including the culture of the moment.

The main thing I was in search of was an image of a work by Lee Bul. After cross referencing a few sources, I discovered that the book I needed for my research was in AAA's Collection. All I had to do was visit the library, which is open to the public, during office hours. So one afternoon, I paid a visit to AAA and found the copy of The Uncanny (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2002) in the stacks. Editor Bruce Grenville, who also curated the exhibition, selected essays by Sigmund Freud, William Gibson, Donna Haraway, and Toshiya Ueno for the publication. I read it until I felt I could capture the necessary information in my story. 

Weeks later, "Robot by the River" was published in the journal Day One. Even though I'm not an art historian, for a moment I felt the thrill of going on an exhibition history hunt.

 

Doretta Lau is AAA Managing Editor.

Imprint

Author

Doretta LAU, 劉淑莊

Topic
Collection Spotlight
Date
Mon, 5 Jun 2017
Cite as
Doretta LAU, 劉淑莊, Item of the Week | The Uncanny: Experiments in Cyborg Culture, Mon, 5 Jun 2017

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