ericamerylthomas [at] gmail [dot] com

Museums are full of art objects. You and I are also objects in the museum. Before we enter the museum and after we leave we will still be these objects. What is your experience in daily life of feeling like an object? Of being objectified? Our experiences with the ways others percieve us are widely varied and our responses to these experiences can be complex.

I used a space in the Portland Art Museum called the Object Stories booth, which is typically a place for museum visitors to record a story about a treasured object for archiving and to enter it into an installation at the museum. For Objectification Stories we took over this space for one night to give visitors a chance to record their own experience as an object. We gave a list of prompting questions to help them think over their responses. The recordings were played back immediately as part of a live, collectively built, documentary down the hall in the Whitsell Auditorium for anyone at the show to watch. For the purposes of participant's comfort, I have an archive of the responses but it is unpublished to preserve the trust of the participants who were brave enough to share their experiences that night.

I used the Object Stories booth at the Portland Art Museum as a site to collect the “stories of our bodies as objects” during the Shine a Light 2013 show. I recorded clips, and then added each clip immediately, unedited, onto a loop playing in the Whitsell Auditorium, creating an experimental documentary live on the night of the show.