New York, US

The recording accompanying the object-portrait of Chilean-born Javiera Rodriguez (Javi), a 40-year-old special-needs teacher and jewelry designer, speaks of her connections to her loved ones and of the difficult obstacles she has overcome in her life. This story and still-life photograph are now memorials to a life taken too soon. Shortly after making the recording, Javi contracted COVID-19 and became one of the hundreds of thousands of people in the US who didn’t survive.

For the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THINGS photography series I have been archiving the lives of individual people through their personal belongings. Each participant selects important objects as portals to memory that are both precious and meaningful, they are then arranged for the camera in a temporary installation. Each installation embodies their sense of self-hood and identity, and tells the story of each individual.

From a SS dog tag, to heart medication, to hospital bracelets, to an artifact of sexual assault, to objects that belonged to lost loved ones—the majority of the portraits consist of objects of trauma. My approach to creating these portraits has always contained an element of existential self-reflection, comparable to the mental state that we were forced into during the pandemic. Going into someone's home, spending hours looking at their cherished objects, and listening to their life stories based on each object requires a state of contemplation. Now that we are moving past the pandemic, and my work on the series continues, objects will emerge that people have become attached to during the last year. These objects, which hold stories and narrate experiences of personal loss and trauma from the pandemic period, will emerge. I lost my grandfather to Covid-19, my neighbor, and Javi, who is one of the participants of The Encyclopedia of Things. We will be grieving and processing this period for many years to come and some objects will help us through it.

Desktop Archives is an online publishing initiative and event series that showcases webworks from 10 different artists. The project is DIY and works outside of institutional networks. Together, the platform documents and archives unrests from the pandemic and the asynchronous, unequivalent emergences.

The platform is a growing archive and will have two editions in
June and November 2021. It will be accompanied by a series of artist talks.

Dates: June 30th 2021-February 28th, 2022
Online | Warsaw | Berlin 

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