Memory Beast

Works by Morgan Grasham

January 22, 2021 - March 20, 2021

Gallery Six

Artist Talk with Morgan Grasham

Workshop RSVP Here

Memory Beast is a project about storytelling. The stories we tell matter. Stories indicate what is important to us, they tell us who we are, and how we understand our relationship to the world around us. Stories create and maintain realities. Social realities, political realities, ecological realities. In Western culture, we have a problematic archetypal story of domination over nature, often called the progress narrative. These stories have brought us to a time of great ecological imbalance, in which we face climate change and mass extinction. From this viewpoint, what hope is there to be found, for a finite flourishing on a wounded earth? According to scholars like Donna Haraway and Linda Vance, what creates new possibilities for earthly survival is new kinds of storytelling practices. Generative, multispecies cooperative narratives that we tell with our companion species. Memory Beast is a project that explores these new kinds of storytelling practices, acting as a conduit between biological others and the community. A memory beast is a physical encoding of our ideas of any particular species (i.e. cow). It is a holotype, a representative example, not of a (cow) but of what we think of as (cow)ness. Through participatory research with the community, I collect stories, descriptions, and drawings, then combine them into a physical object, a memory beast. This is placed in the field next to the biological counterpart, in order to highlight the contrast, illuminating the differences between our ideas of cowness and the living, breathing cow. It is a tool to see the difference, in order to see and know the biological cow and write new stories with them.