A couple of years ago we decided to self publish a book about some of our projects along with our ideas about stories. Because we changed our name we had to create a new book cover. We used to be called Visual History Project and then changed our name to Visual History Collaborative because it was a more accurate description of what we do. As organizations and people create their own cultures, their own narratives, we work collaboratively to create the art that represents those worlds. So, here is what the new book cover looks like.
In the near future most of what we read will be on Kindles, photo’s and memorabilia will be on zip drives or distant servers. It made sense to us to have a book, something that you could hold in your hands. In part, this is what motivated our first project, the idea that we might be one of the last generations to have boxes filled with photo’s and memorabilia, things to hold and touch in real life not just in our cyber lives. We are approaching a different reality and our first project was as much about the loss of those boxes as it was about the people and lives they spoke of…..
1. The Legacy project
“The Legacy Project was created to explore and foster this global dialogue through exhibitions, publications, programs, and an extensive website. We welcome a general audience concerned with shaping global values of exchange and mutual recognition, including communities of memory of 20th century traumas, human rights and global value activists, scholars, educators, students, and artaudiences.”
2. Place Matters
“Places connect us to the past, host community and cultural traditions, and keep local environments distinctive. City Lore and the Municipal Art Society founded the Place Matters project in 1998 to identify, promote, and protect such places in New York City.”
This site is the photographer Phillip Toledano’s tribute to his father and the last 3 years they shared, their last story together. Part journal, part visual record, when you know that the end is not far away. It is very moving and a joy to share with you.
This is a New York Times website that has artifacts found after 9/11 and what they meant to the people that saved them. The idea of objects and the power inherent in the stories around these objects is what moves us to do our work. Memories, artifacts, objects all tell the stories…whether for families, for events, for moments, for history, or for the life changing event of 9/11.
“The Universe is made of stories, not atoms……..Muriel Rukeyser, poet & political activist
This post is from Lynn, Leah and I are the Visual History Collaborative and we will each be posting to this blog.
Here is a family piece that we just completed. It is 24×40 scrolled with iron roller bars. They wanted a Japanese scroll or a “kakejiku”.
It’s always interesting when you distill the many images and things of your life….what do you choose? This piece contains 4 generations. The husband and wife are in their early 60′s …..they decided to represent the creating of the family through their parents, their marriage in 1969, their 2 children’s marriages and their first grandchild. There are pictures of the couple as children, their parents when they were young, their son and daughter when they were young and at their respective marriages. There is also text from the husband on what Tzedakah means to him (tzedakah is the Jewish obligation to give to those in need). There are also wedding invitations….. a Kiddush cup (a special wine cup used in celebrations)…… Dreidals…(a 4 sided spinning top used in a game on Hanukah)….and Sabbath Candlesticks.
They get to live with all the images they cherish most everyday….a reminder as they pass the piece daily of those they love and of their commitment to Jewish life.
Oh, and as we have discovered in every piece there are always dogs (sorry cats, at least for now)….and so Rudy & Wally are in this piece as well.
Lynn speaking about the work
Participants viewing their stories
Participants view the artwork
The opening for the Living Legacy Tapestry at the Rose Community Foundation, Denver, Colorado was a great success. Over 100 people showed up and their reactions affirmed why we do this work. It is rare that people are asked to speak about their values and what they find meaningful, to see that represented brought tears and laughter. This surely is donor recognition at its best. Here are a few snaps from the evening.
We have changed our name from Visual History Project to Visual History Collaborative because it is more in keeping with what we do; it is a collaborative process.
We are headed to Denver to install our fifth Visual History Collaborative project. We began working on the project with the Rose Community Foundation over a year ago on what is being called The Living Legacy Tapestry. It is a tribute and a way to honor the legacy donors that have left the Foundation in their wills. This is the first time a donor recognition project has ever been done in this way.
Fifty families later we are finally ready to exhibit the piece.
The question we posed to the donors was who or what inspired your philanthropy?
For most of the legacy donors philanthropy is just something they do; they consider who they give to, what they give, how they give, but rarely consider why they give. Each person considered the question and brought in photographs, memorabilia, and ephemera that reflected their values and relationship to giving.
For now, we will show you the invitation to the May 8th celebration. Very soon we will come back and tell you some of the stories and show you some of the images as to why people give.