Elaine Rutherford, Steven Lemke ’08, Nate Burbeck ’09, and Chloe Briggs ‘11
College of St. Benedict / St. John’s University
Mixed media installation
Re-collections considers the idea of the souvenir, or any object used to store and express memory or personalized experience. These items are not the commoditized kind, nor do they belong in the sentimental realm of kitsch. Rather, Re-collections is meant to investigate a kind of cultural geography through the use of the souvenir. These objects explore the souvenir as a means of materializing experience, and engage a dialogue between “the miniature and the gigantic.”
Re-collections is an installation in which projections of photographs excavated from both personal and imaginary archives depict an idealized vision of utopian landscapes. Wax tiles and house forms, gilded picture frame shrines, and small paintings on the interiors of discarded lids dot this landscape of projected slide imagery. “The souvenir may be seen as emblematic of the nostalgia that all narrative reveals, the longing for its place of origin.”
Susan Stewart, On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection
How do we cultivate a true collaboration where there is no understood or assumed hierarchy? What occurs in the process when we test our assumptions, work outside our comfort zone, and make ourselves vulnerable? In our case, the collaboration itself defined the outcome. For us this process was more about the opportunity to explore what evolved as we stepped back and relinquished control thus creating the space for a shared conceptual and formal vision.
During our first meeting we drew a diagram, which identified ideas of remembering, collecting, landscape, and the seductiveness found in the sparse or the bleak as points of intersection. From this we developed a working sentence, which would become the springboard for our ideas: exploring the souvenir as a means of materializing experience. In our attempt to achieve a genuine collaboration, we have discovered the value in the act of letting go. Our shared authorship has provided us with a framework for determining what to keep and what to discard.
Our formal and conceptual process is documented in our blog