In his ongoing work with the discarded card catalog of the Los Angeles Central Library, David Bunn has discovered stains, handwriting, and various marks on some of the cards. He has also found loose objects that were accidentally left in the card catalog, or intentionally placed there. These elements form the basis for his project Subliminal Messages,
which takes its name from a curiously stained catalog card for a book of that title.
Bunn has enlarged isolated marks, scraps and other modifications to the cards with an extremely high-resolution digital scanner, and reproduced the resulting series of small to full page blow-ups on the highest quality paper printed by Druckerei Fries, Cologne - one of the finest printers in Germany. As a result of this painstaking work process, images emerge. The original cards that are cropped and magnified in these enlargements follow on a subsequent page, and the enlarged images often suggest uncanny interpretations of the library card’s text: the unconscious, the occult, sex, social ideologies, and hidden aesthetics all symbolically emerge. The catalog card becomes both the visual source of the image and a source of written commentary on the image.
Given David Bunn’s modus operandi in his overall LA library discards project – the “subjective occupation” of a former public archive –Subliminal Messages is also an allegory of the artist’s larger practice. In an episodic project, spanning over a decade, Bunn has returned again and again to the LA Library discards; an immense archive which the artist was given in its entirety.