Currently, we are actively seeking attention for our crowdfunding campaign for ‘A Mosaic of Lost Ones’. We are incredibly grateful for all the donations and would appreciate it if you could share the link with people who might be interested. Your contribution is crucial for the presentation of our ambitious project. Thank you in advance! I’m working hard on the translations, at this moment crowdfunding gives the most information in English.
Remembering with your senses
The theme of feeling and remembering is the main thread that runs all through my artistic work. Since my mother’s passing, I’ve focused particularly on these aspects regarding textiles. As we wear textiles close to our skin, the connection with the sense of touch is evident. In ‘A Mosaic of Lost Ones’ we’ve brought these ideas together with loss, grief, and loneliness. We’ve noticed that people are deeply concerned about these questions, especially those who have participated, but also those we’ve discussed it with.
Clothing we keep
Clothing preserved from a deceased loved one often carries emotional significance. It could be an outfit that the person frequently wore, one that evokes memories from our childhood, or one that was only worn once on a special occasion. It’s not always obvious how our senses influence our memory. We might associate this phenomenon with traumatic events. However, in my explorations, I aim to emphasize how tender memories can be activated through skin-to-skin contact and the touch of hands.
The historical sensation
Johan Huizinga (1872-1945) describes something he calls a historical sensation in “The Historical Museum” (De Gids, 84-1, Amsterdam 1920). This sensation could occur while touching an object from the distant past, preferably one that was extensively used. For Huizinga, a historical object could suddenly trigger a euphoric sensation, as if he stepped outside himself and found himself in another era.
Wear and tear
Wear and tear also play a significant role in ‘A Mosaic of Lost Ones’. A jacket, a pair of shoes, or gloves all subtly change shape through use. Over time, a frequently worn garment develops an imprint of the person who wore it. We can sometimes experience that personal form, offering comfort or a moment of connection. You can read more about this in my older article about my mother’s mittens.
These moments hold great value for me as they provide a sense that my life is a cohesive whole, rather than just a series of days. Remembering through the senses is quite distinct from merely thinking about the past. It requires a certain openness and concentration to experience this, without being distracted by various thoughts. The senses ground us in the moment, and we are in the present every time we literally feel with our senses. This way, a memory can come alive, offering a delightful sensation.
As you read this, I hope it prompts your own memories and feelings to surface, encouraging you to explore what remembering with your senses means to you personally.
‘A Mozaik of Lost Ones’ is a collaboration between Margareta Svensson and Chaja van Kollem and is made possible with the support of the Amsterdam Fund of the Arts and Prince Bernhard Culture Fund.