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…the boat is a floating piece of space, a place without a place, that exists by itself, that is closed in on itself and at the same time is given over to the infinity of the sea…and has been…the greatest reserve of the imagination. In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up.    –Michel Foucault, Of Other Spaces

in this hollow ship, gatherings may answer her (2011) investigates the dichotomy of outside/inside, and by extension belonging and un-belonging, through installation and artist books. Using Homer’s The Odyssey as a navigational starting point, and by means of gathering hand-written stories from over 150 participants, I begin to map our internal geographies of home. These stories, along with pages cut out of 24 copies of The Odyssey, are folded into paper boats, stitched together and transformed into a shelter, a meditative space offering protection. The artist books, using each page from one edition of The Odyssey, present an autobiographical and often fantastical version of my own odyssey. Both spaces beg to be entered, alone and with others.

While Odysseus’ travels are aimed toward reaching a very physical manifestation of home, Ithaca, my work traverses this “place without a place.” It is internal because we carry it with us, inside of us, just as poet Derek Walcott writes, “I bear/my house inside me, everywhere.” And it is external, as it only exists through our relationships with others, with the outside. These spaces open to the infinity of this sea that is simultaneously outside of us and within our very cores.

 

To read individual stories written on these paper boats, please visit the project’s blog: paperboatodyssey.wordpress.com.

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