A Sense of History
A Sense of History is an installation of related objects in an evocative environment, which re-creates the sense of history found in a museum—in this case a “museum of memory.” Using the nineteenth-century display conventions of dark red salon walls, mahogany vitrines, and richly upholstered furnishings, this re-creation presents various remembered things past which have been selected for their relative obscurity and ability to evoke memory—as Proust’s madeleine. Glass and other translucent materials, such as sugar or paraffin, are used as different forms of embodied memory—often dematerializing as ghosts before the viewers’ eyes. These fragile and ephemeral materials capture fragile and ephemeral memories at just the moment that they are slipping away and dissolving.
The five senses serve as a structuring device to subtly link together the collection of objects presented in this hybridized setting of period drawing room, cabinet of curiosities, and natural history museum. The now silent and taxidermied Gramophone reifies the memory of sounds long past from the Victorian drawing room. While the imageless Paintings evoke fleeting vision passing out of sight with their granular and crumbling surfaces, the similarly delicate sugar particles coalesced into Tastevin re-present the dissolving memory of taste—both figuratively and literally. If ever used for its intended function, this pâte de sucre wine tasting cup would melt away…