This work was part of the Asserting Self grouping in the Tout ou rien exhibition along with works by Karen Trask.
Souvenirs is a performance with photography. The artist was seated with a series of mounted photographs of himself dressed as various states of self. The loosely formed categories of images were: present self, former self, and imagined self. He would ask visitors to choose one of the images. This choice became the starting point for the artist to tell a story about a personal experience. There were not specific stories written for the photos, but rather he would draw on a bank of stories that could be juxtaposed with different photos. For example, if the visitor chose the image of the artist as a skydiver, he might recount his memory of how, for fun, his mother would accelerate their 1970 Dodge Coronet-440 station wagon, full of kids not wearing seatbelts, over bumps in the road, sending everybody airborne.
This piece questions how identity and life experiences co-exist. In the performance, the multiple-facets of the artist’s identity in the photos are tested by the stories. In choosing an improvised approach to combining stories and imagery, the artist hoped unexpected poetic connection would emerge rather than imposing predetermined interpretations. At times it did, but at others, the two truths, when combined, were awkward.
A selection of these photographs were reprinted in 2006; this series was exhibited as Absolutely Fabulous.