Lynne Yamamoto
Of Memory
2007

LOCATION
Central Library
1000 Fourth Avenue, 10th Floor

FUNDING SOURCE
Libraries for All Bond 1% for Art


The white card file cabinets in Of Memory, cast from polyester fiberglass, stand out starkly against a black wall on the 10th floor of the Seattle Public Library's Central Branch. Artist Lynne Yamamoto's relief suggests the spectral trace of library card files now rendered obsolete by computerized cataloging.

However, some of the information recorded on these cards has never entered the online system, either because there was no category for it in the database or the notation was too idiosyncratic. Since much of this information would be lost without the original cards, they continue to exist, hidden away but still useful to librarians and patrons alike. The artwork's location, near the historical holdings of the Seattle Municipal Archives, coincides with its ability to evoke the past. Its direct connection to the Dewey Decimal System relates to the Central Library's non-fiction book spiral, with books arranged according to that cataloguing system.

The artwork's card files aptly hint at the rich history of the library system, subtle but clearly discernible even in the library's ultramodern setting. Yamamoto describes the effect as "evocations of memory and absence, and the eloquence of thoughtfully deployed materials."