When we are young, we want nothing more than to get away from home. As we age, some of us want nothing more than to be home. Dani Dodge’s installation maps her own history of home and encourages visitors to consider their own tales of personal territory.
Opening June 17 at MOAH:CEDAR, “Personal Territories” is a room-sized interactive installation that incorporates video and sculpture while allowing members of the public to contemplate their own memories of home.
Dodge is known for crafting evocative interactive works that reflect ideas of home, formation of identity, and the secrets we hide in public and private spaces. She explores how many layers of transparency are required before opacity occurs.
To create the work, the artist, who grew up in California, relearned the art of sewing, something she abandoned after doing poorly in home economics at age 14. She re-creates her childhood bed in clear vinyl and shades of translucent fabric, hanging it from the museum ceiling. Each piece is a striation in her journey. Threads dangle from the seams.
A time-lapse video, reminiscent of Dodge’s childhood territory, projects onto and through the objects. It is at once visible and obscured as it plays upon the surfaces.
The installation allows the public to wander through this ephemeral representation of Dodge’s personal history, rendered in dreamlike colors and textures that at once conceal and reveal the details of her youth.
Sculptures made from the skins of mattresses dot the room. Visitors are invited to share their own childhood memories and ideas of home on wood blocks—one of the most solid items within the room—and hide them in shoeboxes under the bed.
Inspired by her personal history as a war correspondent, political journalist, and a young single mother who at one point lived in a car with two infants, the artist’s sculptures and installations reveal a range of powerful themes, including identity, memory, the fragility of home, and the nature of truth. At the same time, Dodge’s installation seduces viewers with its delicate monumentality and subtle but perilous beauty.
While no less contemplative, her “Personal Territories” public performances will be a celebration of community and home. At locations throughout Lancaster, she invites the public to share their own truths with her and others. The paper airplanes, drawings, and stories that result from the encounters will be on view at MOAH:CEDAR.