The Story of the Tin Can is an exhibition of works produced during Conlon’s time as Maker-in-Residence with the Chicago Public Library.
Over the year-long residency, Conlon considered the library’s spaces and systems as sources of inspiration. At the start of the residency, Conlon used the library’s Maker Lab to design and prototype three sculptural workbenches that have served as platforms for making and for thinking. These tables, each output from a digital file using digital fabrication technology, provide a flexible system of organization that Conlon uses to lend structure to her research and making.
The objects shown atop the wooden workbenches respond to the holdings of Harold Washington Library Center’s Special Collections, specifically, a number of scrapbooks compiled at the time of the 1933-34 Century of Progress Exposition. In The Story of the Tin Can, Conlon uses these scrapbooks to examine facets of the complex relationship between people and technological progress. The work, often conceived or realized in the Maker Lab, also reflects on Conlon’s unique experience of making art within the space of the library. It celebrates the library not only as a source of information and resources but also as a space for meandering inquiry, non-linear connection, and discovery.
Visit The Story of the Tin Can in the central hallway on the 3rd floor of the Harold Washington Library Center through May 2021.