Saturday, May 16, 2020

An Infestation of Memories

World Traveling Mouse

These were completed on day 60 of the Covid-19 shelter-in-place orders. Has anyone else noticed that, given unlimited time, your mind has been wandering through the back alleyways and hidden caverns of your memories, surfacing vivid incidents, smells, sights, conversations or places you haven't thought about in years?

These "memory mice" were inspired by the posting just prior to this one, Cardboard Pets to Keep You Company. It occurred to me while making those little cardboard creatures that my memories during this long interlude of isolation are like mice—skittering around my apartment, seen in fleeting glimpses in my peripheral vision. So I decided to make some memory mice to scatter around my apartment in unexpected places.

The framed memory: page from my address book circa 1970

I created mice out of scraps of copper sheeting and assorted junk from my stash of rubble including: rust pieces found on the railroad tracks, tin can lids, old keys, pop-top tabs, broken jewelry, crumpled lightbulb bases, and more.  Each "memory," whether a photograph or scrap of paper, is framed using an old tin can lid and incorporated into the mouse structure.

This first mouse contains the page from an old address book that includes the location of the East African center and the Indian center of an international experimental college I attended in the twilight of the 1960s, an experience that profoundly changed to course of my life.

The Margot Mouse

The piece above is called the "Margot Mouse" after my grandmother, who was one cool character. That is her eye you see in the tin can frame, and the framed eye itself is a discard from an earlier project, Fiddling Around with Mrs. Fitzherbert's Eye (inspired by an interesting scrap of English history that focuses on intrigue and forbidden romance).

Detail of mouse head

Margot's eye

The final piece is called the Warthog Mouse because that's the way I kept referring to it while making it. It features a photo of me at around age 30, and if you take a close look at the expression on my face you will see how this piece got its name. The women in my family were all trained to deliver perfectly executed looks that could kill, and here you see my version at its finest. I still remember the top I was wearing, fast-forward fashion purchased in Bangkok (see—skittering memories).

Warthog Mouse

A look that could kill

Thus ends, for now, the saga of the three little memory mice. I may make more, though in all likelihood my attention will now drift on to something else—like gluing paper bags to my dining room wall.

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