If you were asked to draw or make a model of your childhood home from memory, how accurate would it be? What would your house include? Maybe more importantly, what would you FORGET to include?
Our next ARTLab is inspired by Chiharu Shiota installation Trace of Memory located in the Mattress Factory's brand new exhibition space at 516 Sampsonia Way.
When Shiota visited the Mattress Factory in 2011, she was inspired by the old Victorian rowhouse at 516 Sampsonia and curious about the previous inhabitants and their lives. “I work always with someone’s memory because it is strong and it exists but I cannot touch the memory,” says Shiota about her work in an interview with Felice and Shannon of the Mattress Factory Education Department. She describes her use of black yarn as a 3D drawing material that she weaves through the air to create space, and sees the act of weaving the yarn in these spaces as a way to give form to memory and create a new world. Human relationships are complex, and she describes the yarn as analogous to human connections:
“The string makes tension or is tangled or is loose. The string is like feeling or relationship to people, and the relationship is connected, or loose or tight. I feel like this is just like a mirror of my feelings.”
For Shiota, the yarn gives form to unseen feelings, memories, and history, and once the installation is cut down, the memory of the installation is what remains.
What we learn from Shiota’s process is that making art (through any medium) is a way of remembering. In our November 2nd ARTLab, visitors will be invited to recreate a model of their childhood home, and through this process of artistic creation, allow the faculties of the brain that conjure memories and create art to work simultaneously. ARTLab participation is open to all visitors and is included with admission to the museum.
BONUS: Richard Morris is a former resident of 516 Sampsonia Way and shared photos of the house when it was occupied.