Thing theory

Thing Theory (Jackets), archival inkjet print, 24''x18'', 2020

Made in collaboration with Maya Sharabani and Jessica Eve Rattner, this project is composed of two phases demonstrating a slightly different collection of choices. First, local passersby were asked to choose an object from the things they carried on them that they value or that provide insight into who they are. The objects were photographed and the owners wrote the object’s story – what gives it meaning. This became our working archive. These modern-day amulets point to a range of values, identities, anxieties, and desires.

In this exhibition, the taxonomic arrangement is rejected and the objects are re-contextualized and valued not for their productivity but for their narrative potency. Reading the collaged triptych from left to right, the narrative loosely follows the classical structure of the Hero’s Journey – in which the hero, reluctant at first, accepts a call to adventure, where deepest fears are faced and through conquering them, the hero is transformed. This fictional collaged story echoes many of the stories told by individuals about their objects – stories of loss, immigration, belonging, celebration, companionship, and family. The grossly stitched together collage highlights the act of organization itself and thus points to the existence of alternative ways to assemble and interpret.

Thing Theory (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3), archival inkjet print of digital collage, 19”x60”, 2020

Additional pieces and installation view from Fine Ideas & Art gallery, Oakland

Documentation of first phase