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Theoretical Production--Nostalgia

I have decided to shift perspectives and have altered the theory that I will be working with for my theoretical production. I have been working with Nel Nodding's "The Ethics of Caring," which very much has been helping the research for my piece "Hug." However, after working all weekend writing my thesis paper, and writing about some of my new works that I am currently creating, I decided it would serve me best to focus on the piece that is the least resolved for my Thesis Exhibition. Therefore, the piece that I will be working on for my Theoretical production involves ideas relating to nostalgia. I have been reading and researching theoretical writings on nostalgia and some writings that I am currently researching are:

-Zizek talking about the distinction between Freud's and Lacan's melancholic desire for lost objects (the fundamental fantasy of nostalgia) in "Less Than Nothing."

-And "Irony, Nostalgia, and the Postmodern." Methods for the Study of Literature as Cultural Memory , Stud­ies in Comparative Literature by Linda Hutcheon

Here is my current in progress statement for this theoretical production piece:

In creating a piece that represented my sister, and evoked childhood memories, I began to think about the importance of nostalgia in my work. After all, each piece that I have created deals with memories, and nostalgia goes right along with this. Nostalgia is much more than mere reminiscing; it's a feeling. "Nostalgia is the warm, fuzzy emotion that we feel when we think about fond memories from our past” (Hepper). Nostalgia is triggered by a number of things, however, the sense of smell seems to be one of the strongest triggers for me personally. As I was looking thorough my collection of found objects one day, I rediscovered an old aluminum pencil sharpener that I had picked up at some point during one of my travels. It still held pencil shavings within it, 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, spilling the shavings all over the classroom floor. I began to realize that while this was a specific memory of my own, it was likely that many of my peers have 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. Therefore, this object became the catalyst for the perfect opportunity to create a piece about a collective act of nostalgia. In this piece titled Spill It, I have attached this pencil sharpener to the wall, and drilled a hole in the bottom of it. I then allow my viewers to come up and sharpen a pencil that I provide, and as they sharpen, the shavings begin to fall to the ground forming a pile that increases as participation increases. This pile serves as the remnants of a collective nostalgic experience of remembering. This piece will be accompanied with a live recording of each person’s interaction with the piece. Allowing them to become one with the work, and contribute to the creation of the piece throughout time.

Citation: Erica Hepper, Ph.D., a lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Surrey in England

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