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Drawing from Memory - Staten Island 

Culture lounge 2015


This project has the longest duration of any of my projects yet, running January 8, 2015 - March 22, 2015. The phones are live every Wednesday from 4:15 - 7:30pm.  At this time ferry riders en route to Staten Island are given a unique opportunity: call a toll free number and tell a personal childhood memory, over the phone to a stranger. An artist answers and makes a drawing while they listen.  The artists take the calls at Culture Lounge, the gallery space of Staten Island Arts, located inside the St. George Ferry Terminal.  Ferry riders can stop by Culture Lounge when they arrive in Staten Island and meet the artist and see their drawing. The drawings become part of the display, highlighting the artists work.  Later, all of the drawings are a gift to the storytellers and an archive of all drawings and stories can be accessed on the Drawing from Memory Blog.


The systems I created to make this project work and the ups and downs of interaction with many, many people has created much conceptual fodder to tap into for future projects.  Sometimes people don't show up, or the phones don't ring, or one simply forgets.  And sometimes allowing things to go unchecked is just as important as hovering over the details.


These parts along with the sometimes surprising stories and beautiful drawings offer a lot to ponder. How would I do this in a different venue, with just one artist, or for a very different population of storytellers?  And the more I listen, the more interested I become in this aspect of the project.  The human voice is a very versatile instrument!

(all photos by Deirdre Haber-Malfatto unless otherwise noted.)

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