In Loving Memory
In Loving Memory www.mildeart.com
Permanent Installation on NURTUREart roof
Is it possible to apply the strategies of a hunter-gatherer society to obtain specific, industrially produced goods? Artists Kristyna and Marek Milde went on a gathering mission for their installation In Loving Memory. Made of discarded chairs found on the streets of New York City (lovingly sanitized and fixed) In Loving Memory is an answer to Gallery Director Marco Antonini’s invitation to “furnish” NURTUREart’s roof top terrace. While serving its purpose as a patio for the visitors of the gallery, this installation addresses the issue of fast-paced cyclical consumerism and the impermanence and interchangeability of things, where actual ownership often represents a short-lived affair before rejection.
The presentation of this project mimics the hunter-gatherer’s need for detailed knowledge of the environment and its cycles, while suggesting that rummaging through discarded objects can convey the kind of emotions and excitement usually associated to hunting and gathering in the wild. The result is a collection of garden chairs in a variety of styles and forms that could never be found in a single catalog, a diversity that reflects the abundance of refused objects available to those who seek.
The chairs were found in the garbage in the New York metro area. Based on their condition they were refurbished to a functional state and sanitized. Their overall appearance was preserved to maintain the unique character of each piece. The finding process was recorded on a map linking the origin of each object to the site in which it is presented. The chairs are identified using the found evidence and facts such as the type, material and condition, which serve as a starting point to recollect the story of its past. A brass plaquette is attached to the chair’s back, characterizing the chair’s personality. The focus is on creating personal narratives of the individual pieces based on the found facts and fictional associations. A panel with a map of the locations of the finds and the personal stories in a style of National Parks information panel is documenting the project. While the memorial benches and chairs usually celebrate the honorable dead or living with a notion of monumentality, the stories In Loving Memory commemorate the mundane, ephemeral, aspects of everyday life.
Finally, collecting furniture on the streets allowed the artists to re-enact the experience of furnishing their own apartment with found furniture after their move to New York. The found objects, besides their functionality, provided connection to a history grounded in the city, becoming a vehicle of memory and association. This experience was one of the motivations that ignited our interest in the mechanics consumerist cycles, the position and the role of the subject (the consumer) and a search for alternative possibilities left for his or her input. While today the majority of household objects are anonymous mass-produced editions of the same identical form, we see the effect of use, wear and tear becoming an important element of creativity, overwriting the original generic commodity.
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