Catalog is an exploration based on my experience packing up and cataloging objects and memories from my grandparents’ home after their deaths. As I try to re-create vivid memories of sights, smells, sounds, and textures that transport me back, I also recognize the impossibility of returning and the inevitability of forgetting. How can the material qualities of objects and experiences remembered teach me to accept what has been lost? How can the material properties of clay help to record memory as time moves forward?
Drawers made by my grandfather to organize tools in his workshop, and painted in my grandmother’s favorite colors after her death, are lined with carpet I cut from their home and arranged to hold objects from my memories there. Rubber balls are cut into pieces and carefully filed where nails and screws were once stored. Other significant objects are also broken and neatly cataloged.
Coral carpet that dominated my grandparents’ home is the foundation for this installation. Shreds of carpet scatter the floor to mark the act of cutting it into pieces in order to line the drawers above. It is an exercise of dismemberment and re-orientation, making commentary on the quality of grief and memory. In the corner hangs my grandmother’s painting smock. A stack of pillows made from unfired clay sits to the side, a memory of childhood games. A video projection shows time-based explorations of these games using clay to record my physical memories of them.
Video projection shows two videos, “Pillow Road” and “Ball in the Hall” spliced together, remembering sounds and experiences playing in my grandparents’ home as a child. The imprints left behind in the act of stepping on clay pillows form physical memories and allow me to recall emotional ones. The sound of balls bouncing on clay recalls the sound of balls bouncing in the hallway during a game we affectionately called “Ball in the Hall.” Though the work is based on very specific memories, it is also a general exploration of the futility of putting back together what has been lost.
South Victory Drive poem