The Memory Lab, April 13- December 30 2012

In 2012 Alabama Contemporary Art Center (the called Centre for the Living Arts) mounted The Memory Project, the first phase plan to create a national model for community building through the arts. The project involved a nine-month visual and performing arts program that examines the various intersections of individual and collective memory in the Gulf Coast and elsewhere. It included a global to local exhibition of about a dozen artists, as well as live music, storytelling, film screenings, public forums and conversations, and classes and workshops for all ages. 

I was invited by Rick Lowe to become a collaborator on the project he and Tracey hick were planning. My roll was to organize and elicit community engagement, identify partners and sites for  participation in the Memory Circles, and to curate the performance aspects of the installation, called the Front Porch Sessions

Rick and Tracey:

Rick Lowe the founder of Project Row Houses in Houston, is the father of public practice in the United States, first approached Dallas, Texas-based artist Tracy Hicks.  The original concept for The Memory Lab was to work with groups of local artists and residents from the historic inner-city neighborhoods of Mobile, Lowe and Hicks would collect personal memories (through Memory Circles) and objects for display at Space 301 and other locations over the course of several months. Their project will launch in April 2012 with the installation of a derelict row house in Space 301. The row house will be opened up like a giant dollhouse, its walls covered with dozens of memory-infused objects and stories that have been gathered from designated neighborhoods including the Bottom, Texas Hills, Oakdale, and Campground.

Memory Circles were a way for the Mobile community to come together to share memories with family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. 

Participants are asked to 

1) bring an object (no objects larger than a shoe box) that represents call up a memory of Mobile

2) bring a small strip of paper on which you can write a memory you would like to get rid of by burning it.

3) bring another small strip of paper on which you can write a future memory. Something that you would like to see exist in the future. 

Front Porch Sessions

The performance element of the project took the form of the front porch of the row house being used as a stage and platform for performance, story-telling, music and the like. 

May26, 2012 - 'On the Porch with John Carolina' Music from Steven Laney and Joelle Rosen of the Underhill Family Orchestra
June 16, 2012 - Poet Georgia Pearle
July 21, 2012 - Porch Musical with Yo Jonsey
August 18, 2012 - Yard Preachin with Papercut
October 20, 2012 - A history of local music with Trey Lane 
November 17, 2012 - A porch picnic for Eugene Walter (film by Gideon Kennedy)

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