Selective Memory

clamshell box with game instruction sheet, journal, pen, square game tiles, 2012

Selective Memory proposes a new method of grieving by treating grief as a game that must be played. This work was designed as a closed-network mail art piece to be circulated among the artist’s family and friends, but could easily be adapted for other grieving communities. In Selective Memory, participants assume the roles of players in a game similar to the classic game Memory. As players progress through the game, they are asked to participate in their small community of fellow players by sharing knowledge and memories of a deceased loved one. The artist’s indirect role in the game is to facilitate a connection between her experiences with grief over her father’s death and the similar experiences of the players as they engage with the game pieces that bear their own likenesses or the likenesses of friends and family members who were present at his memorial service.

For the players, performing these acts of discovery and knowledge-making aids in recalling and processing a communal event that was experienced differently by each participant, and as a result, builds a shared experience. In addition, the winner of the game is granted the privilege of documenting his or her memories of the deceased in the notebook and passing the game along for other friends and family members to play. The notebook acts as a site on which to build a new collective ‘body’ to stand in memoriam for the one that has been lost.

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