What kind of lamp are you?

Sightings project turned personality-type indicator

At the heart of the Hall building mezzanine lives a white cube with transparent walls. This cube, a project by the name of Sightings, is a satellite exhibition space belonging to the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery. 

Projects featured inside the cube change periodically, with its most recent being LAMPS,  the 27th version of Sightings.

Within the cube, several images of different neon-coloured lamps hang. The artist, Karine Cossette, is interested in the effects of consumption, both materially and psychologically. She manifests her research using photography, collection, writing, and graphic design.

Having recently completed an MFA in Visual and Media Arts at UQAM, and holding a BFA in Photography from Concordia University (2011), Cosette’s most recent project studies the lamp in its general form. Cossette identifies four elements that are integral to the system; a lampshade, base, lightbulb and a lighting device. Each element can be one of a couple shapes or colours. In essence, LAMPS is a substitution for the 16 primary personalities within the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

In addition to her photographs, Cossette has provided a quiz viewers may take to further interact with the project. I selected the cone lampshade, circle base, yellow light bulb and ‘day close’ state. This reveals, according to Cosette’s quiz, that I am dynamic, curious, and charming, feel excitement, believe there is a lot I don’t know, and shine in the spotlight.

The idea of creating a quiz surrounding such a common object is interesting alone in itself, as this object, the lamp, can exist in many more variations than those indicated by the artist. But for the sake of her work, I think the quiz can be interpreted as the limited options we are given to ‘be ourselves’ when furnishing our homes. Often times, we settle for items that are not exactly those we initially desired, and end up owning very similar ones instead (see that coffee table from Ikea that everyone has, you know the one.) This item does not represent our individual personalities, but perhaps instead our overall budget need for a coffee table. However, limiting our choices urges us to veer away from our individual desires for the lamp and conforming, instead, to the model of consumption laid out before us.

Cosette’s larger body of work is generated from a manual she created, titled Voir des Choses, or Seeing Things. This manual is comprised of a categorized list of items, like a dictionary.

The expression, ‘to see things’ can have two meanings: figurative, seeing things that are not real and literal, and concrete perception of objects. In her artist statement, Cossette explained that based on her practice of photography, the construction of images reveals objects that can be real, imaginary, or both.

Her lamps, as photographed, are real objects as we perceive them; however the quiz puts forward figurative lamps that represent one’s personality. Participants are then left with a symbol that may or may not be similar to the ones hanging within the cube, and their own personalized definition of their symbol, rather unique to them.

Sightings 27: LAMPS will remain in the Hall mezzanine until Sept 8 and will then be followed by Sightings 28: X ) X + [ ( X ) X { X } X X ] { X } +, an installation and performance-based project centered on violence by Suzanne Kite, PhD candidate at Concordia.



Take the lamp quiz here and share your results with us on Instagram and Twitter @theconcordian !


Photo by Laurence B.D

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