Spill

Spill, 2020

Installation, Sculpture, Performance, Film 

Materials: Found pencil sharpener, pencils, etched acrylic,

pencil shavings, filmed projection

Spill is an installation centered around the concept of collective memory and nostalgia.  As I was looking thorough my collection of found objects one day, I rediscovered an old aluminum pencil sharpener that still had the pencil shavings inside, and as I opened the container, the shavings spilt all over the floor. The smell of the pencil shavings and the act of spilling them triggered a memory. I was immediately taken back to the fourth grade, standing at the front of the classroom, struggling to sharpen my pencil and accidentally knocking the pencil sharpener open, creating this obscenely loud and embarrassing noise while pencil shavings spilt all over the floor. 

I began to realize that while this was a specific memory of my own, it was likely that many of my peers share the exact same memory; in fact, it was likely that every person born who has ever had to sharpen a pencil in an academic setting would share a version of this memory. Attached to the wall is a pencil sharpener with a hole drilled into the bottom of it; as I sharpen my pencil throughout the performance, the shavings begin to fall to the ground, forming a pile that increases with each action. 

In front of the pencil sharpener hangs two sheets of clear acrylic, etched with the written memory. In the filmed performance, which is projected onto the piece, I am recalling a specific memory by sharpening my pencil and writing the memory on the wall. In the performance, my body is separated from the actual piece by the suspended sheets of acrylic, serving as a boundary representative of a moment in time that I physically cannot return to. The act of projecting the film onto the remnants of the performance transformed the meaning of the piece, allowing it to serve as a physical representation of a memory. At the end of the filmed performance, the pencil sharpener spills onto the floor, recalling my initial act of nostalgia, and my digital body exits the frame only to return again indefinitely.