Collaborative Practice and the Future of Memory (San Francisco, Atlanta, GA – 2012)

Collaborative Practice and the Future of Memory (San Francisco, Atlanta, GA - 2012)

With Rudy Lemcke, the John Q. Collective, and Barbara McBane

Artist Rudy Lemcke and I, in our separate wanderings through archives and history, encountered a collaborative group from Atlanta, Georgia called John Q. who create public interventions based on memories and archive research. They call themselves an “Idea Collective” and call their collective performances “Memory Flash.” John Q. has three members: Joey Orr, Wesley Chenault, and Andy Ditzler.

Based on our common (and uncommon) interest in archives and memory, the 5 of us decided to create an experimental exchange of archival memories between Atlanta and San Francisco. Our starting point was one archive at the GLBT Historical Society for Crawford Barton, a man who emigrated from Resaka, Georgia to become a photographer in San Francisco in the mid-1960’s. The exchange included artifacts related to Barton that we mailed to John Q in Atlanta, and artifacts from some of their Memory Flash performances that they mailed to us. The exchange expanded to include the San Francisco archive of Adrienne Fuzee, and a new collaborator, Barbara McBane, who brought the archive of Veronica Friedman into the mix.

In San Francisco, we brought the exchanged artifacts to a live presentation at the GLBT Museum in which we each spoke about a favorite archive, then opened it up to audience queries about “the future of memory.” Later, Barbara and I traveled to Atlanta to continue the exchange at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center.