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Cosmogonic Tattoos, 2017

Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan

Adhesive vinyl on glass


A two-site installation linking the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology with the University of Michigan Museum of Art, using images of objects in their collections to reframe on their windows the stories those objects tell us.


This project calls attention to the mutability of the objects within these collections, transported across time and space, across geographies and institutions. Using material translation and reorganization, I propose the museum as a fictive space built on coincidence and personal narrative, the chance layering of objects and representations subject to the reflections and curiosities of viewers as well as the obsessions of our current predicaments.


The story of the objects gathered in these and all museums is a story not only of displaced things but also of displaced peoples. It is a single continuously unfolding narrative that includes the gap, both physical and institutional, between the two buildings, a gap evoked by my series of transmission towers. I want that distance to speak to us—about migration and exile, loss and longing; about objects that were looted, exchanged, and destroyed in the movement of peoples through history; about trade, conquest, appropriation, and plunder. Hands changing hands, shaping histories we tell ourselves in order to somehow comprehend it all.


Vinyl fabrication by Dave Michalak of Imagecrafters, Inc., Ann Arbor

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