Migration of Objects
Proteus artist-in-residence Sal Randolph's
January 12 - April 7, 2012
Opening reception: Thursday, January 12, 7-9pm
543 Union Street (at Nevins)
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Thursday & Friday, 3–6 pm
Saturday & Sunday, 12–6 pm
Before Christmas, I received the following invitation from Proteus Gowanus:
Proteus Gowanus would like to invite you to consider submitting an item for our upcoming exhibition, the Migration of Objects opening in mid-January, 2012. Since September, the gallery has been engaging in an exploration of Migration. Art, artifacts and books have been collected that have focused on people and creatures, the mobile inhabitants of the planet. Now, for its second Migration exhibition, we wish to acknowledge the things that drive us onward in our migrations; the materials, tools, products, waste--the expressions of our culture or simply its substrate.
Do you have an object with a migratory story? These stories may intersect with your own or it may be a story of the object’s own history, a story that may have begun before the object’s encounter with you and that will likely continue long after you part. We are especially interested in these latter aspects of the objects’ stories. These stories may migrate into the economic, the industrial, the political, the historical, the geologic, the environmental and so on....
Here is my story:
Alabaster urn (Egypt, ca. 1940s). One of a pair. H: 5-1/2" W: 3-1/2"
In the house where I grew up there was a pair of alabaster urns from Egypt. They belonged to my mother, Hoda, who was born and raised in Alexandria. They sat on a bookshelf along with other mementos from my parents' travels. Both urns been badly broken and glued back together....The urns came to New York with Hoda and her family on the SS Vulcania in April 1946, the first ship to sail from Egypt after WWII. Ten years later, Hoda met and married my father, and they traveled to Panama and Puerto Rico in the Navy. The urns traveled with them, packed in a rug. It was during this time that my father broke the urns: he snapped open the rug and they fell, smashing into 100 little pieces. He and my mother glued them back together....I never heard the story until a few months ago, when Hoda died. My father's younger sister came and told the story at the memorial service. She was only fourteen when my parents got married; she said the story of gluing the urns back together instilled in her a love for little things....The next day, I searched my parents' house and found the urns. They were in my old room and filled with pennies. I dusted them off and got rid of the pennies, and brought them home to Brooklyn. Pale and peachy, with spidery veins of dull yellow cement, they now sit on our mantlepiece with some other things, where they catch the midday sun.
The Bureau of Unknown Destinations is part of a three month artist’s residency by Sal Randolph at Proteus Gowanus, extending through mid-April. Proteus Gowanus is an interdisciplinary gallery and reading room located on the shores of the Gowanus canal in Brooklyn. Their yearlong theme is Migration.
For updates, events, and bureau hours visit unknowndestinations.org or contact bureau [at ] unknowndestinations [dot ] org.