Objecto Lugar Memoria

Urethane, Concrete, LED Lightbulb

In the summer of 2011 I traveled to Talca, Chile, a colonial town in the center of the country destroyed by a massive earthquake the year prior. My visit came at a time when the residents still wrestled with the loss of their possessions and homes. One of my main concerns as a foreigner from the United States was the expectation and inability to provided exact replacements for these objects, although this was not my intention. My project OBJECTO LUGAR MEMORIA had two objectives. One was to catalog and archive the objects and spaces lost from the earthquake. Second, and more importantly, was to archive the memories associated with the object and or space. My belief is that the losses of a material object or space will eventual lead to the loss of a memory. We are constantly being reminded of our past by the surroundings we keep, and perhaps we don’t need the original “thing”, just a reminder, a breadcrumb.

The project took place in Paso Moya, a small neighborhood in Talca. I traveled the streets with a portable casting kit and one basic building material, cement. (Many of the community members expressed how they would like their future homes to be made from the solid and reliable characteristics of cement, instead of the traditional adobe technique.) As I met with the residents we sat, ate, and talked for hours, at times multiple days, about the earthquake, their experience, and their loss. At the end of the visit, and using their help, I would cast a fully functional lamp made from concrete. My expectation is that although I cannot replace what they lost, I could provide a reminder, a breadcrumb, to those memories. The lamp, as they use it from day to day, will remind them of our conversation, which will in turn remind them of the missing object/space, and finally to those connected memories.