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In the Everyday, Hints of the Exotic

When you read the phrase “chronicling the everyday”, what comes to mind? I thought of diary entry, daily selfie and blog. I did not consider the impact technology and digital arts have had when I first thought about this question.

However, visiting the Lifeloggers: Chronicling the Everyday exhibit in the Perlman Teaching Museum, has opened my eyes to the expansive realm of archiving one’s personal experiences.

The exhibit features the work of twelve artists including Elise Engler, Richard Garrison, Clive Smith and Jennifer Dalton. Each artist recorded aspects of their lives in remarkably different ways and in turn translated them into art in a multitude of forms. The displays ranged from a mathematically precise machine to a beautiful series of sketches.

Stephen Cartwright’s machine that translates the deviation in his latitude and longtitude over the course of a year falls into the former category while Elise Engler’s sketches of the view from her window at McMurdo Station in Antarctica fall into the latter.

Engler also created a series of sketches in which she detailed every item she packed for various trips on which she embarked. Her approach is both scientifically detailed (almost like a taxonomy) and colorfully whimsical. It was especially interesting to note the food products she took home with her from China.

Richard Garrison also focused on material habits in his display. He translated projected his life into the chronicling of the color schemes of the packaging of products in his house. He also tracked the color schemes of parking lots he visited. His series looks at his own consumerism and what that reveals about American culture.

Clive Smith took a more literal approach to chronicling his daily life by painting a small self-portrait every day for a year. From far away each painting looks the same, however on closer inspection you can see the variances. Smith aimed to show how both the physical self and the perception of one’s self constantly changes.

Other exhibits included weather patterns translated into music, prints the artist made of her autistic brother’s daily lists, and a photo display of the artist’s material possessions along with their worth as told by the artist and an auction house.

The Lifeloggers exhibit is fascinating and each display is both a unique representation of an individual’s existence and a thoughtful commentary on that existence.
Who knows, maybe one of the displays will inspire you to catalog aspects of your life— perhaps a visual representation of food you consume in the LDC, or the tables you sit at in the Libe.

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