Memory Books of Collective Motion

Susan Marie Ossman
Apr 15, 2016 · 3 min read

The Memory Books of the Moving Matters Traveling Workshop serve as a touchstones for contemplating collective memory in a time of mobility. They instantiate the evolving memory of a collective of serial migrant artists who share neither place of residence, national origin or mother tongue and who are engaged in artistic practices ranging from dance to visual art, theater to poetry. What the artists of the MMTW share is the experience of have all lived in multiple countries. The workshop explores this common experience and uses it as a stepping off point for contemplating migration and mobility more generally. Its format that mimics the path of the serial migrant.

The MMTW migrates in the image of those who compose it. Its path evolves not by acceding to a “cosmopolitan” perspective or through incessant, wandering, but by progressive in-habitation. Each workshop takes place in a new country and type of space. Each focuses on a specific issue; borders, objects in/of migration, contradictions between history and the migrant’s stories: these are some of the themes we have explored in the gilded Pavillon Vendome art center in Clichy, France, at the Allard Pierson Museum of Mediterranean Antiquities museum in Amsterdam and the print shop turned gallery of the Ceaușescu regime in Bucharest. Our art develops in response to each environment, but also with reference to the previous meetings and the workshops future horizons . In 2014, when we met in Amsterdam, we decided it was important to develop a collective artwork to document the important moments that have has shaped the MMTW, contributing to shaping a collective memory.

Blanca Casas Brullet conceived the Memory Book project. Each book consists of a double-sided, 12″ x 16″ books . The format allows the production of a uniform object by different artists. The books can be easily stored in an archival box to travel to each new event. They can be displayed in an “accordion” format on a table, hung vertically. Their digital form makes them available to all the artists to reconfigure in other scales or media.

The books document the story of the project for the public that views our exhibitions. But just as important, they contribute to shaping an evolving, mobile collective memory of MMTW in ways that are evocative of the “feel” of each workshop . Their presence at each new workshop provides a sense of palpable continuity that is particularly strong because of the personal (re)interpretation of the project’s archive of photos and videos developed by each artist. The books thus instantiate and foster a mobile space of collective that embraces movement by recognizing the contributions and exchanges of individual participants.

The art of Migration 2013: Riverside, California (Susan Ossman)
Au-delà de cette frontière, votre ticket n’est plus valable, Pavillon Vendome, Clichy, France 2014 (Blanca Casas Brullet and Guillaume Lasserre)
Objects In/Of Migration: Allard Pierson Museum of Mediterranean Antiquities, Amsterdam, 2014 (Blanca Casas Brullet)
My Memory/ Your History, Typographia Gallery and Victoria Art Center, Bucharest, 2015 (Alec Balasescu)

The books thus instantiate and foster a “collective memory” on the move.

Moving Matters

Serial migrants engaging settled societies

Susan Marie Ossman

Written by

Anthropologist, Artist, Professor at UC Riverside.

Moving Matters

Serial migrants engaging settled societies

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