Drawing from Memory
2012 - Grad School
Drawing from Memory -
Dumbo Arts Festival
MFA Thesis show -
University of Albany
In Staten Island at Culture Lounge, the new home of Staten Island arts at the St. George Ferry terminal. This project is broadcast at the South Ferry terminal by people using what I like to call "a small town social aesthetic." Each potential participant is giving a postcard with an 800 number and details about the project. They are asked to call this number and tell a childhood memory over the phone on the subject of: "water," "crossings or a journey," or "the city." At Culture Lounge artists will answer their calls and make a drawing while they listen. To see and learn more please go to:
Offering this project at a museum opened up several interesting possibilities. I decided to use a 1960’s era interior phone booth for the story tellers to enter and tell their memories in. A private space inside the public space of the museum was created. Upstairs grad students working in 15-30 minute shifts made drawings while they listened to the stories. With the permission of the story tellers, several memories were recorded. The drawings were installed on a nearby wall during the opening. Once the stranger interaction over the phone was complete, story tellers and grad student listener/drawers had the opportunity to meet.
After the opening a special desktop push button phone was placed inside the phone booth. This phone was able to play back the various memories recorded during the opening. The viewer could then go upstairs and see the drawings made for each story.
Each participant selects a slip of paper with a name and phone number on it. There is a one word description of a memory to prompt the person they call. The participants select whatever drawing materials they like and a spot in the room to draw. Then they start calling - strangers recount their memories while the listeners draw. Each participant's experience is a little different. Some elicit their own childhood memories and some find ingenious ways to "illustrate" the memory. An auditory experience is created for both using an ubiquitous technology in a new way. The use of public and private space are flexed and reinvented.
This time Drawing form Memory was part of Heather Hart's Bartertown at DUMBO Arts Festival, 2012. Each offering of a project requires some adjustments for the particular location and audience. At Dumbo a booth was set up with white helium balloons. Participants could choose to offer a memory, writing a phrase or single word to indicated what the memory was about on the balloon and leave their phone number for a later listening participant. Or participants who chose to be listener/drawers would select from the floating balloons and call the story teller. The listener/drawers would put on the special space age, totally noise cancelling headphones* and while they listened, made drawings of the stories. These drawings became part of the display during the show and were later sent to the story tellers as a gift for participating.
*We were right next to a band stand.