The Archaeology of Memory

installation, books made out of clay, wooden table, water


The past plays an important part in my creative process. My role as an artist is to dig through layers of history like an archaeologist. The Archaeology of Memory series has been influenced by the loss of collective culture and memory. The act of remembering becomes the only vehicle for keeping history alive.

I have chosen to reference books because they are historic symbols of knowledge and collective memory. The videos in the series The Archaeology of Memory are time-lapse recordings of clay books being dissolved over the course of seven days by dripping water. The deconstructive aspect present in the disintegration of clay books, references on a metaphoric level the breaking down of the mind and memory through the vicissitudes of life and time. The geologic-like changes that the clay books undergo reference loss of collective memory. The overlapping and layered patterns of memory are represented by the process of making the individual book pages out of clay resembling geologic strata. Undoing the book in seven days, also references the creation of the world. Through the erosion of the clay books, I am comparing the process of memory and its disappearance to geological transformations. 

From the beginning of history, there has been a connection between words and clay as the first forms of written knowledge were on clay tablets. While the loss of collective memory seems like a natural occurrence that one cannot stop, it is never too late to try to revitalize culture and language. Books have always seemed to make knowledge more tangible, yet in these videos they are crumbling away, dissolving in what appears to be a natural process. There is a sense of nostalgia for knowledge and culture.



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