The Southwester, 1970
Secular Columbarium for The Island is a site-based art project and mythologization of the neighborhood Southwest D.C. (known in the 19th century as "The Island”). I created an imagined memorial located in the Capitol Skyline Hotel, SW in which objects from Southwest's recent and distant history reflect the neighborhood’s past, present, and future. Like in a traditional columbarium, the objects both commemorate and reanimate a lost feeling, experience, or life. Southwest is a neighborhood with a rich history, but also a vibrant present and an uncertain future (of which the renovated hotel is a part). Like many others who visited the hotel, I was not familiar with Southwest; the items that fill the columbarium are created in mind from content gleaned online, archival research, and from my meetings and interactions with members of the SW neighborhood over a three month period.
Installation view, 2012
The above excerpts are from the Visitor Guide, which I provided to visitors on-site at the time of the installation. The guide was designed to invite interaction and instigate dialogue with the specific objects housed within the columbarium.