Eating the allegory

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Title: Eating the allegory
Author: Kountoupes, Nicola
Abstract: This project explores imagery, sense memory, and performance through the intersection of an event and the objects within it and at its periphery. The archaeological dig provides the emotional and intellectual setting for discovery, history, and cultural identity, as well as an outlet for creation (of new memories) and desire (for knowledge). The performance elements of the show, including roles portrayed by audience and participants, provide the uncertain layout and improvisational aspect that relies on people coming together in a moment that is unique. The ephemeral nature of a moment lends itself to construction of memory, so that it will be somehow represented. This representational re-telling of the moment can take the form of oral, visual, or other sensorial traditions, such as food, in the case of this project, baklava. It can also be perpetuated through artifacts left in the wake of the moment, in this case, a large glass tile mosaic made from a photographic portrait, a construction trailer, and the documents, photos and other contents. These remains can be clues with potential, but may also lead to a stagnancy of investigation. The two strategies of constructing, preserving and transmitting memory, the ritual and the archive, are portrayed through the story of the archaeological excavation. The conflation of object/icon with shared process/experience is at the heart of this project. The chaos of the day, with its varied moments and sensory cues, form a fleeting collection of divergent sources of memory and meaning.
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Date: 2009

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