Archival Stucture 5: Bricks. 2008 - Current.
An unlimited series of brick-shaped display boxes made from paperboard and PVC plastic packaging conserved from my own purchases. This project began in 2008 and is on-going: There are currently over 2000 bricks.
Each brick was designed to have two internal cells. I begin by placing an object in the left (while facing the window, looking in) cell. The object is what I refer to has a ‘junk drawer’ object: something small and unrecyclable. These items often had a previous usefulness but have become non-functioning or obsolete, some are just useless, but kept out of visual interest, sentimentality, or other more difficult-to-define urge.
Pictured is the first installation of AS5—bricks totaled 500 at this time. AS5 can be installed in any form that follows the essential logic of masonry construction—walls, fences, cobbling.
Each brick is numbered. During an exhibition of the bricks, visitors are welcomed to choose a brick they see in a ‘wall’ and make a request—via e mail or a sign-up sheet—to ‘adopt’ that brick, identifying it by number and general description (‘Creamette Box’ for example).
The only obligation of a brick adopter is to place an item from their own junk drawer in the empty right-hand cell of the brick, creating a visual dialog between my junk drawer and theirs.
Each brick is designed to be completely reversible, becoming its own mailer. Once someone requests a brick to adopt, I remove the internal divider and the ‘junk drawer’ items within and turn the brick inside out. The divider is unfolded and becomes the cover for the plastic window. I then replace the ‘junk drawer’ items inside, add padding, and mail the brick to its adopter, usually at a cost of about $2.00. I then e mail them a link to an instructional video explaining how to reassemble the brick.
All brick adopter then have the option to display their brick at home for their own and—if they wish—occasionally lend me their brick for a subsequent installation. Their brick is then incorporated into the current structure, with a sticker added to it to indicate the owner and that the brick is no longer available for adoptions. Occasionally I take photographs of a brick in an installation and e mail that image to the adopter. Adopters have the option to participate in an installation as frequently or rarely as they wish. Some bricks have been in a dozen versions of the piece. After each exhibition, if an adopter requests the return of their brick, I reverse it and mail it back.
In 2015 a brick making station was created as part of my installation for the group exhibition ‘Hedgemagic’ at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis MN. I collaborated with Cast Iron Design, a ecologically responsible design firm based in Boulder Colorado, to create a ‘green’ brick template (natural inks on 100% recycled paper) that made it possible for anyone to create a brick out of my or their own conserved packaging. I collaborated with ROLU Studios—a Minneapolis-based ‘open practice’, active in landscape and furniture design—to create two ‘brick making stations’. During the opening reception of Hedgemagic, and as part of the 2015 Northern Spark all-night art festival, visitors to my installation were invited to use the station, templates, tools and my conserved packaging and ephemera to create their own bricks and immediately add them to the installation.
The ultimate goal of for Archival Structure 5 was to eventually create a full room, with 4 walls and two doors, so that the viewer would be completely surrounded by the results of a single career in consumption.