I PACKED MY BAG deals with the inscription of private and public memories in everyday objects and is an experiment in how these can serve both as a document and as a material to create new forms and narratives. The title refers to the eponymous memory game in which players enumerate the list of items collected in an imaginary bag in the correct order and take turns adding something new to the list until someone forgets a part or names a wrong order.
I PACKED MY BAG is a series of ceramic sculptures, each built with a vintage East German net bag, once produced in the same factories that also made nets for the fishing industry. Bought on eBay, they now serve as a tool to build new shapes and surface textures for ceramic objects. In the process each bag was filled with clay from the inside, which held the clay in place and adjusted to the size, shape and flexibility of the bag or following imaginary packed objects. After the clay has dried sufficiently, the bag is carefully pulled over without destroying both. The texture of the net shows up as a pattern on the surface of the ceramic vessel. The work enacts a collaborative relationship between solid and liquid material, between permeable and impermeable. The bag contains the clay, and the clay gives it further visibility and function - a container freed from the clear distinction of what contains what and who is holding whom. The ceramics sit in the various colorful net bags somehow reminiscent of oceanic fossils found in fishing nets or strange fashion items. In an exhibition, the work aims to mimic the presentation of typical fashion bags. In addition, they can be presented in a fashion show. The sculptures are bulky, heavy and fragile and suggest utilitarian items or a clothing line entangled with nature, consumption and history, where memory can be understood as a cultural, individual or social material.
A quote by Ursula K. Le Guin's
It is hard to tell a really gripping tale of how I wrestled a wild-oat seed from its husk, and then another, and then another, and then another, and then another, and then I scratched my gnat bites, and Ool said something funny, and we went to the creek and got a drink and watched newts for a while, and then I found another patch of oats.... No, it does not compare, it cannot compete with how I thrust my spear deep into the titanic hairy flank while Oob, impaled on one huge sweeping tusk, writhed screaming, and blood sprouted everywhere in crimson torrents, and Boob was crushed to jelly when the mammoth fell on him as I shot my unerring arrow straight through eye to brain.
That story not only has Action, it has a Hero. Heroes are powerful. Before you know it, the men and women in the wild-oat patch and their kids and the skills of makers and the thoughts of the thoughtful and the songs of the singers are all part of it, have all been pressed into service in the tale of the Hero. But it isn’t their story. It’s his.
The first cultural device was probably a recipient.... Many theorizers feel that the earliest cultural inventions must have been a container to hold gathered products and some kind of sling or net carrier.