LEXINGTON, Ky.—Kathleen Burke ’10 spent the past year noticing how her daily interactions with friends had changed since graduating. She found that the information she was getting about her friends through her Facebook newsfeed was the kind of information she used to receive in person.
As part of her studio assistant position at Transylvania, she was encouraged to put on a show. Her ponderings on how her relationships and interactions were different post-college and the recent passing of her grandfather led Burke to formulate the concept for “Preserved,” a participatory installation that opens in Transylvania’s Shearer Art Building on January 17 and runs through January 27.
“I was playing around with ideas of memory and using mason jars,” said Burke. “I was originally going to can my own childhood memories, but then after talking to so many people about my experiences regarding the many people who have come in and out of my life, I realized the show could become an opportunity to engage people in a creative way to represent the memories of those who were influential in their life.”
In October 2011, Burke announced her plans for “Preserved,” on Facebook and on a blog she created for the exhibit, preservedinstallation.blogspot.com, and asked people to submit their own memory capsules of people of influence in their life with whom they no longer interacted. In some cases, the person of influence had passed away, but that was not always the case.
In early December, Latitude Artist Community in Lexington hosted a memory capsule workshop that was free and open to the public. Jars were provided and participants brought their own items to fill them. The workshop and regular contributions from friends and the public netted 54 jars, only three of which are Burke’s.
“It has been a fantastic process and every jar I get back is so interesting and meaningful,” said Burke. “I have been surprised by the number of people who have taken this very seriously and by the amount of time people have spent on the details of their capsules. Seeing them all together is more powerful than I could have imagined.”
The installation includes a station where visitors can make their own capsules and have the chance to participate in the show. The Susan P. Shearer Art Gallery in the Shearer Art Building is free and open to the public weekdays 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. The opening reception for the installation is Tuesday, January 17, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.