Friday, November 9, 2012

Hyperkewl: Relics Project

Placing organic materials, including the dirt and brick pictured here, in my reliquary.

In addition to working on Altar for Women, I have also been involved with Hyperkewl's Relics Project. According to the project statement written by Rosemary Barria,

"A walk will take place in Fall 2012 in various cities, such as Chicago, Kansas City, and Lima to place reliquaries created by people in community.

People were asked through facebook, email and by word of mouth to fill a provided reliquary with relics.

A relic is traditionally important to many religions, including to Buddhists, Christians and Hindus. They are typically remains of saints, bones, and pieces of clothing or other objects, placed in a church, a temple or shrine. Pilgrimages are made to them to give honor or to receive magic from them.

Hyperkewl re-appropriates the power of reliquaries beyond traditional religious context and asks the participating to place their own magic inside and to gift it to a place of importance to them, regardless of what it is. Each participant leads their own walk and decides if a ritual or some other delivery is appropriate.

After the walk, a map will be available online for the community to revisit these reliquaries. Each reliquary, becomes a new point on a map from where our special experiences are acknowledged.

We are re-accessing our environment and imposing our personal relics. This is magic."

Hanging my reliquary.

Adjusting my reliquary.

My reliquary in place and still unfilled.

Each participant was either created from scratch or was given a blank form to use as the basis for a reliquary. After the reliquary was completed to the specifications of each artist, then each artist could fill his or her reliquary with relics. I, of course, chose a tedious and time-consuming process, which gave me time to reflect upon family, home, safety, and the importance of having a place to call home.

I wrapped and wove string around my reliquary to create a safe space to fill with relics from my past. It occurred to me that every place I've lived has its own special blend of materials, so I chose to relocate bits and pieces from my first home to my parents' current house.  My Safety Ne(s)t acts as a sieve to sift organic materials from my first home into the stuff of my parents' current home. By doing this, I am hoping to compress the organic materials of the two homes from my childhood into one space.

Placing my relics in the reliquary.

I carried my materials from my old house to my parents' house in a red bowl I recall from my childhood.
Green maple leaves from "my tree."
Here's what I said about my project:

Home is a powerful symbol. For me, the word evokes comfort and safety. Home is more than the family that resides there; it is a location, a geographical and sentimental coordinate that exists outside of linear time. Although my parents, siblings and I moved from our first home 20 years ago, "the old house", its goings on, and the land on which it was built still feature often in our conversations, my thoughts, and certainly in my dreams. 

For my reliquary, I relocated organic elements from the site of my first home to the land where I grew into adulthood. These materials include the following: brick, grasses, dirt, bark, twigs, leaves from "my tree," and flowers that still bloom, despite my mother's yearly inattention. The materials I gathered are now nestled in a netted nest-like structure, not only for safekeeping, but also to be filtered through the gaps between the woven strings, picked up and re-utilized by animals, and to eventually join the site of my family's current home irreversibly. 

I look forward to following the progress of these relics, as they wear and blow away. I expect them to leave stains on the structure of my reliquary as time passes, just as home has shaped and molded me over time.

Alison L. Miller

Below are images of the final piece:

The star-shaped opening occurred as a natural result of my weaving technique.

I was so excited to find flowers in bloom at "the old house."

I know this post is photo heavy, so I'll call it a night. In another post, I will highlight some of the other participants' reliquaries. They are all incredibly personal and beautiful.

What relic would you put in your reliquary? Where would you place it?

Alison :)

*My awesome mom took the photos of me, and I took the rest.

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