The Immortalization Project
Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro - 2003
Los Angeles, Calif. - 2004
Oakland, Calif. - 2005
Taipei, Taiwan - 2005
Kio-A-Thau, Taiwan - 2006
Jyderup, Denmark - 2008
The Immortalization project was my first foray into a socially engaged practice. The public was invited to offer a much-loved but unusable possession, something that has been kept for nostalgic reasons only, to be lent to the project. I interviewed each participant about their object(s) and documented their stories on video. I made photographic impressions of each object and listened to and retold the stories concerning each object's lifespan-where, when, how it was accumulated, how it got a particular tear or stain, why it is still held onto, etc.
I set up stations on the street or by appointment. In Belgrade, for instance, I visited a high school and a youth center, interviewing and photographing on location. Photographic images of the objects and the participants, video footage and some donated objects made up final presentations at first. Postcards and visiting cards of the participants and their objects, and their stories, were later produced and disseminated, representing a place with its real residents and visitors. The participants and public were encouraged to bear witness to the work we created together, and gathered in celebration of the collective "we".
Documentation from previous Immortalization Project(s) were shown each time, so that a sociological/anthropological analysis could be made by viewers and Project participants.
Each city and region has its own unique pattern(s), character(s), history(ies), and/or personalities evident not only in the objects offered for Immortalization, but also those absent. There are many stories to tell, both profound and quotidian.