When we think about migration (as we have been doing all year), we tend to focus on people and creatures, the mobile inhabitants of the planet. But life and motion create products and byproducts: tools, waste, the implements of culture. These are often the things that drive us onward in our migrations. Their stories are ineluctably connected with our own. At the points where our stories intersect with objects, much is revealed, not only about our personal trajectories but also about our precarious relationship with the environment.
We sent out the following message: Do you have an object whose story you would like to share? An heirloom, an artwork, a toothbrush, a stone? An object which has inspired you, dominated you, educated you, exalted or degraded you? For our second exhibition of the Migration year, we invite you to lend us your object and include with it everything you know about it. We are especially interested in the part of the story that is the object’s alone: it’s history as material, as an economic entity, as waste, or as the impetus for other migratory tales.
This query brought us over 50 objects which are the jumping off point for a three-month exploration of the Migration of Objects.
The objects on display range from a 50 million year old “dinosaur fart” (or gas bubble) to a collection of wild bird’s stomach contents collected in the early 20th C for “scientific” purposes. There are also talismans, mundane objects with secret meanings, things of beauty and much more.
We will view them as independent beings with stories of their own, stories that began before the object’s encounter with its current owner and that will likely continue long after they part. The stories may migrate into the economic, the industrial, the political, the historical, the geologic, the environmental and so on as visitors add to the stories on display with information they may have about the object in question.
This object submitted by our collaborators, Friends of the Pleistocene, has a story in which we humans barely figure at all.
.The Object Show is presented by Proteus Gowanus with curatorial assistance from the artist Sal Randolph, creator of the Free Biennale, Free Manifesta, Free Words and Manifesta, and from Smudge Studio, creator of the book Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York, exploring the convergence of the geologic and the human, and of Friends of the Pleistocene. Sal will also be our Artist-In-Residence for the duration of the Objects Show. We also wish to thank Twig Terraria, on 4th Ave and President, for assisting us with our display by providing glass terraria.