“Dredging The Lethe” is a large-scale drawing occupying the public space in the 3rd Floor North of the Torpedo Factory Art Center, part of the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s “Art in Public Spaces” project.
Wrapped around the interior wall of a smokestack of the former munitions factory, the mural furthers the intent of the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s original initiative to “beat swords into plowshares,” using recycled book-pages, collage, charcoal, gesso and ink to create large-scale drawings of Greek goddesses amid contemporary human events. At twelve feet high and 26 feet in circumference, the mural’s circular composition allows for an unique viewing experience.
Memnosyne submerging the travelers.
The upper region of the mural depicts Memnosyne, Titan Goddess of Memory, as she submerges travelers in the river Lethe, to unburden them of their past experiences, with the understanding that they may begin life anew only when their memories are laid to rest.
Hazmat-suited Historians with the dredge, and visitors telling their stories to the cosmos.
Her daughter, Clio, the Muse of History, meanwhile, has persuaded a group of hazmat-suited Historians that they might find the source of all human history by traveling to the Underworld to mine the River Lethe in order to collect the memories of all the dead who have journeyed there throughout time. The Historians must take precautions to avoid the soporific nature of the mythic waters, lest they become forgetful themselves, as they attempt to collect and decipher of all the information which they gather and transmit to the their ethereal data center – known as “The Cloud”.
Clio being carried by the Black Swan, children wading in the forgetful waters.
The satellite beaming the Historians’ information to “The Cloud”.
The Cloud, detail
Contemporary figures surround the lower half of the column, making various efforts to have their stories included in the historian’s copious recordings, or try to forget their sufferings in the healing waters of forgetfulness.
Mural view, north side.
The mural itself is constructed of hundreds of pages of discarded books glued to rolls of brown paper, attached to the historic structure using a large packing strap. No nails, screws, or adhesives were allowed in the hanging of the drawing.
Here are a few photos of the installation process:
The Crew – (left to right) Leslie Mounaime, Veronica Barker-Barzel, Brett Johnson, Guy Jones, Jenn Athanas, Kara Hammond, Alex the visiting artist, Daniel Guzman. Photographer: Val Proudkii.