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  • Genevieve Memory

SQ artist talk

Updated: 7 days ago

On Monday 28 September 2020, a small but intimate group of 10 people attended my Sculptors Qld artist talk at The Shed on the Old Museum Building site. My artist talk, Objects as memory-keepers and relics of material culture: How objects inform our identities, looked at the sign value of objects and how we use objects as souvenirs of social interactions with others and ourselves.

After the formal part of my artist talk, we went around the room sharing the memories behind the objects that we had all brought. There was a great variety of objects presented, ranging from photographs, to books and cards, to domestic items, and to handmade objects. Many of the objects were relics of material culture and connected us to loved ones from previous generations. It was a privilege to hear everyone's stories.

Here are some of the objects presented:

My memory object - the second-hand book of poetry that I gave to my partner on our wedding day and that I read from in our wedding speeches. I later set that particular poem He wishes for the cloths of Heaven by William Butler Yeats to music and dedicated the composition to my partner. The book has a fabric cover, gold stamped lettering, a ribbon marker, extra thin pages that make a sound when you riffle through them, and signs of age. Books like this are no longer made.

Herman's memory object - a large-scale photograph and handmade envelope from long ago which connects him to his former European life and home, and to the people he knew and spent time with when he lived there. He muses that he now values the envelope (the fact that it is handmade, the European stamps, and the handwriting) more than the photograph.

Terry's memory objects - some of the birthday cards which he has been collecting his whole life. Terry's birthday card collection essentially documents his life in material object form, and contains the literal traces (handwriting and names) of people who have been important to him throughout his life. Abandoning the collection would be a kind of metaphorical 'death', so he has to keep going.

Erika's memory object is a curiously-shaped found ceiling lamp which resembles an underwater mine. Erika has had a fascination for similarly-shaped objects since she was young. The fact that the chosen object is a found object reveals Erika's attraction to objects with past histories and reflects her interest in sustainable art practices.

Perrin's memory object is a clutch purse made by her great-grandmother. Perrin is drawn to this object as it connects her to a family member that she was not able to meet in real life. She is drawn to the literal trace of the object, that it was made by her great-grandmother's own hand. Perrin's object reinforces the matrilineal line that connects her to the other women in her family from generations past.

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