Saturday, January 2, 2010

Piece from Elsewhere.....

These images are from my stay at Elsewhere Artist's Collaborative in Greensboro, NC. Let me start this post by saying that I really like Greensboro. It is beautiful, and most importantly, has Cheerwine in abundance.
Elsewhere is a former thrift store that was turned into a residency by the owner's grandson. The woman who ran it seemed to have a pretty open and shut case of a Depression-era hoarding mentality. That is to say there is a lot of junk in this place. Their policy is that artists cannot bring anything in, or take anything out, in order to make their work.
Luckily for me this place is a fabric lover's paradise. It is a material world and I am a material girl. That's a little humor joke for you.

What follows most likely emanated from my deep-seated need to organize.

The third floor has an intense musty smell. Many of the piles of objects had been up there so long that they were starting to rot. I was thinking about the sharp contrast between the amazing North Carolina scenery and the stale air of all of these rotting things. I had been looking into bioremediation and the cleansing power of plants. This space needed some cleansing.
I began to take pictures of the objects. That old lady had some interesting things. I printed the pictures and cut them out along the edges to make into templates. They had such great organic shapes like territories or countries on a map.
Photographing the objects was both a way to catalog the objects, and to cleanse the space. It seemed like going through these piles and acknowledging each object by documenting it was the first step to giving them a new life. By moving the objects and photographing them, I was also mapping the room, as I had begun to view each pile of junk as a country or territory floating amongst the ocean that was this old building. There is an idea that making maps is simply a futile attempt to know everything about a place. I very much like that idea and find it very apt in this case.

I looked at the boxes as pedestals or plynths. They became the base for my piece and also the storage for this newly archived collection. What became the covering is a topographical map made from transferring the shape of the archived objects onto collection fabric and layering them together. I integrated plants into the final arrangement to add more layers to the topography, and the final touch to my cleansing ritual.
Here are some details of the final piece.

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