Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Completion date: 2022
Pam Marlene Taylor
Curator, Gallery Owner
A multi-purpose art installation for The Martin in Chicago. This collection was intentionally crafted to function independently as an art exhibition while seamlessly transforming into the immersive backdrop for a captivating series of interactive dinner theater events, as well as other booked events in the venue. The dinner theatre and the exhibition were both revolving around the conceptually built world where humans are born with a “Deathday” (a date they knew they would die) instead of a “Birthday” – which inspired the oversized-confetti inspired woven works.
The artwork had to possess the versatility to shine independently during art openings, art crawls, and open gallery and studio events. Simultaneously, it needed to harmonize with the concept of a thematic dinner theater experience. Moreover, the venue was in demand for various other occasions, including poetry readings and even a wedding, necessitating that the artwork be universally suitable for these diverse gatherings.
The concept underwent extensive deliberation and analysis during numerous weeks of discussions, video conferences, and text exchanges between Curator Whitney LaMora and myself. To bring these creations to life, I took on the role of a designer, meticulously crafting each piece by carving it from wooden panels using a jigsaw. Afterward, I sanded the pieces and entrusted them to my studio assistant, who applied a base coat of paint and added the essential hardware to transform the artwork into a permanent loom and frame. Subsequently, the pieces were returned to me, allowing me to weave and embellish them with any additional elements, bringing the final vision to fruition.
Addendum: Due to personal circumstances of one of the contributors to this project, the dinner theatre performances were canceled. Yet, the exhibition went on and was still received very well! Artist Statement: In an alternate reality you are born with a deathday instead of a birthday. You know the day you will die, but you do not know the year. Every year on your deathday you surround yourself with friends and family to celebrate what could be your final moments. Deathday parties are similar to our reality’s birthday parties, complete with cake, balloons, presents, a special song, and confetti. In this reality, similar to our own, most people are expected to die when they are older and early deaths are especially mourned, but the fear of death is compartmentalized and concentrated into just one special day a year. You may assume people in this reality become reckless, being immortal 364 days a year, but since they still experience pain and suffer injuries, their realty is not much different than our own, as most of us, in our reality, approach our days assuming it is not our last.