"Collectors of Traces" is a reflection on the relationship between individuality and belonging. It is also about appropriation and the documentation of physical traces of invisible memories. The work is part of my doctoral research project at Hasselt University and PXL-MAD School of Arts in Hasselt, Belgium, which is funded by the Special Research Fund (BOF) of Hasselt University (BOF21DOC04).
As part of the project, machine-made rings were distributed (for a certain time) to different people.
There are 2 versions of this project. In one, I knew the participants and had selected them myself. These individuals wore their rings for a year. In the 2nd version, I did not select the participants, but the rings were distributed anonymously and as part of a cultural event at the Baltimore Jewelry Center (US). Here, they only wore the rings for a period of 4-6 weeks.
For both projects, participants decided how often they wore their rings. At the end of the pre-determined time, the rings were to be returned to me so that I could document and continue to work with the surface traces that were caused by wearing the rings. The results are various prints showing (5-times enlarged) traces of the surfaces.
The prints based on the shorter, second version show etchings of the (complete, 5x enlarged) ring surfaces. These etchings were exhibited publicly for the first time at the Baltimore Jewelry Center from 29.04.23 to 11.05.23. Each participant was able to pick up a print of their ring surface traces as a thank you.
The prints, based on the first, longer version of the project, were made during an artist residency at Künstlerhaus Lukas in Ahrenshoop (DE). In contrast to the Baltimore prints, here I decided not to work with the entire surface, but created 3-colour linoleum prints showing 2 square (5 times enlarged) sections of the surface per ring. Again, each participant received a print of their ring surface.
Both versions of the project showed clear differences in the surface traces of the rings. These concerned not only the intensity but also the character of the traces.