A CABINET OF CURIOSITIES OF EVERYDAY AMERICAN LIFE
The things we surround ourselves with hold the rhythms of our routines, our memories, transitions, and longings—the people we used to be and the people we hope to become.
The Mobile Museum of American Artifacts (2014-2018) is a participatory, evolving installation—an ever-changing picture of American life cast from the objects and stories contributed by those who encounter the work along its journey. MMoAA looks at the everyday, the local—the lives we live and the places we inhabit. It sees the present tense on its way to becoming a story, a thing regarded, the first rough draft of memory.
MMoAA is an art project created by Laurelin Kruse in 2014. It has since been to around 20 towns and cities throughout the country.
All 100+ objects in the MMoAA collection have been thoughtfully and kindly donated by participants, who have shared the stories behind their objects through a written questionnaire and oral interview. Laurelin writes an interpretive text for each object based on this information.
This process asks: how does narrative impose categories on stories? can stories refuse these categories? what makes a story compelling, and what insight can be gained and empathy cultivated through the most mundane of stories? what happens when stories travel? when a personal story becomes an allegory? what is lost and gained through the process of empathy? is it possible to feel into each other's lives through the intimate physicality of our objects? (many of these ponderings have been cultivated from Amy Shuman's book Other People's Stories, among many others.)