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Collective Memory

By Sheryl Oring
Brooklyn, New York: Fargo Books, 2012. Edition of 10.

Collective Memory is an interactive public art project created by Oring that she hopes will be used on college campuses in teaching about 9/11.

Sheryl Oring: "The Collective Memory box functions as a portable exhibition based on the 2011 public performance of the same name held in Bryant Park, New York City, on the 10th anniversary of September 11th. Published in 2012 in an edition of 10, each box contains 315 digitally printed index cards with messages dictated during the Collective Memory performances held on September 9, 10, and 11, 2011. A pool of ten typists set up a public typing pool in the park and invited passersby to answer the question: What would you like the world to remember about 9/11? Answers were typed verbatim on blank 4x6" index cards, with participants adding rubber-stamp messages to each card. The cards were subsequently exhibited at the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC.

"Each box contains:
1) a hand-typed and artist-signed introduction
2) 315 4x6 index cards with messages typed during performances at New York’s Bryant Park
3) 315 steel clips for display of the cards
4) a DVD with a 7-minute video documenting the performances"

Sheryl Oring: "I want to personalize this huge historical event in a way that many college students otherwise might not be able to. Hopefully the artwork will make people think about 9/11 and start some conversation."

Collecting Memories of 9/11, University News, University of North Carolina Greensboro: "Ten typists dressed in black sat at manual typewriters in Manhattan’s Bryant Park on Sept. 9, 10, and 11 and invited the public to answer a question: 'What would you like the world to remember about 9/11?'

"Some park visitors replied on the spur of the moment. Some had heard about the project, the brainchild of assistant professor of art Sheryl Oring, and arrived with an answer ready. Some wept while they spoke.

"The typists recorded more than 300 answers verbatim on small sheets of white paper. Another 200 people typed or wrote responses themselves during hours the typists weren’t available.

"'It had a real impact on people visiting the park, even people who didn’t participate,' Oring said. 'It turned out to be a really contemplative way to memorialize 9/11. It’s time to start thinking about how we’ll teach 9/11,' she says. 'How do you deal with recent, traumatic history? How do you teach about this sort of complex event in a way that will be good for future generations?'"


6 x 7.5 x 6.5" hinged Buckram-covered box handmade by Brooklyn-based Talas with the title die-stamped on cover. This customized box has separate sections/compartments for 4x6 cards, magnetized steel clips, and a DVD.



Collective Memory

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