The Memory Box Project
Memory Boxes have a long history. Traditionally made from wood, they have been used for hundreds of years to mark special events, such as christenings, weddings, or birthdays, or to commemorate someone who has died, by including locks of hair, photographs, or letters.
One of the core artistic principles in our group is that the practice of recollection is political as well as personal. We believe that as we recall and reconsider our stories, we recall and re-consider ourselves, the world, and our place in it. The Quirk-e Memory Boxes thus offer more than collections of memorabilia. Rather, each makes a statement about remembering and forgetting, challenging observers to construct their own meaning as they handle and open them.
The Quirk-e Memory Boxes took a year to make. First, the Quirk-es mined their memories through individual writing and collective discussion, till each member had identified and explored a significant slice of memory that could be summarized in one word. When it came to representing these ideas, a visit to Traffic – an exhibition of Canadian conceptual art exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery – opened up playful and dramatic possibilities. The boxes experiment with the notions of exterior and interior. They use everything from keyholes to Ken dolls, and passports to plastic coffins to take viewers on interactive emotional and intellectual journeys.