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Material Archive: Project Statement

My memory archive will be a collection of objects made out of a vinyl, gingham tablecloth. The objects include a beer can, camping lantern, and a small one-piece swimsuit. The beer can and lantern will be stuffed, giving them the appearance of plush toys.

The childlike appearance of the objects invokes a degree of innocence, and their forms evoke memories of picnics, swimming at the beach or a neighborhood pool, and going camping. These objects, and the utilitarian gingham fabric that forms them, are parts of what can be considered a relatively inexpensive summer vacation- it costs much less to go camping, for example, than to stay at a hotel, resort, or lake house.

The collection of objects represents the dynamics of a childhood experience on vacation in a working class family. These elements could be related to most summer vacations in America, but the fabric and beer can specifically relate back to perceptions of the working class. Gingham is cheap and disposable, making it an because they are used readily due to their cheapness and because they are disposable. The swimsuit relates to the innocence of childhood. Here, maturity or adolescence is defined by what a young girl wears to the beach. There’s a difference between what a child wears to the beach and what a teenager wears (a one-piece or a bikini)- what she wears defines the girl’s body as a child’s or a woman’s.

The gingham fabric, in its utilitarianism and ubiquity references perceptions of the working class, but it also alludes to the family. Vacations serve as ways to bring families together, and family gatherings around a campfire or picnic table could be visually defined, in part, by this pattern as picnic tablecloths are made in gingham almost exclusively. The family is an important aspect of this piece. To me, spending time with one’s family is what makes vacations ultimately meaningful and important experiences.

 

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