THE IMMORTALIZATION PROJECT
at REX - cultural centre B92, Belgrade
Lexa Walsh

The Immortalization project is an interactive public art project. This is an ongoing project, on which I am currently working in Belgrade. I intend to further explore this theme internationally in the future.

The public is invited to offer a much-loved but unusable possession - something that has been kept for nostalgic reasons only, to be lent to the project. I have interviewed each participant about her/his object, documented on video. I have made a photographic impression of each object and have listened to the stories the participants have to tell concerning its lifespan - where, when, how it was accumulated, how it got a particular tear or stain, why is still held onto, etc. An object can be "Immortalized" on the spot and taken away, it can be lent to the project for its duration, or if allowed, it can be to be permanently altered- I have preserved some objects in beeswax.

I have a simple studio located at Rex. Participants have visited me here and I have also gone out into the field, for instance, I have visited a high school and have been invited to visit a senior center, a Jewish community center and a youth center, interviewing and photographing on location.

Starting Monday, October 6 there will be an exhibition. An accumulation of photographic images, video footage, objects, both transformed and in their original states, will make up the presentation. Each participant will be given a souvenir photographic copy of her/his object(s). The participants and public are encouraged to bear witness to the work that we will have created together.

This project will continue in the future, with documentation from the previous Immortalization Project(s) being shown each time, so that an 'sociological'/'anthropological' analysis can be made by the viewers.

My work deals with memory, pseudo-scientific archaeology, histories of objects, nostalgia, creation and transformation. This project attempts to piece together objects, their stories, and their "owners" stories, retracing memories. The objects (and with anticipation their tales) are captured in images, and transformed into small monuments.

Each city/region has its own unique demographic pattern(s), character(s), history(ies), or (and)personality(ies) evident not only in the objects offered for Immortalization, but also those absent. There are many stories to tell, both profound and quotidian. My intent is to create a place for the community to be willing to tell- through their personal objects and the opportunity to interact with the piece and with the artist.