This Old Thing: Souvenirs and the Aesthetics of Possession and Loss

The focus of my exhibition considers how souvenirs mediate past experience. Souvenirs in this context include found items invested with significance by the collector, or items deliberately manufactured to be distributed as souvenirs. The hope is that by unpacking the complex social relationships between souvenirs, their possessors, and the circumstances of their collection, the project will provide insight into the intersections of materiality, embodiment, memory and self-identity across space and time.
The exhibition will consist of three interrelated sections. The first will be dedicated to telling the stories of specific souvenirs, and will incorporate a map with each plotted to its site of acquisition. The second will consider the cultural significance of the souvenir discursively, from the perspective of media archaeology, material culture studies, and thing theory, with an emphasis on conceptions of nostalgia, reification, and commodity fetishism. The third section will reflexively document my own process of “collecting” as the project’s curator.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *