Consider the Chewing Gum

First exhibited at Buchenwald Memorial (Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation), 2017

The conservation and subsequent scientific examination of archaeological objects helps us to further understand our shared histories. Objects entrusted to conservationists are primarily selected based on their scientific or cultural-historical significance, leaving behind troves of unexpected, and uninspected, objects that are parts of our common environment. These banal entities might be regarded as rubbish, standing for excess, laziness, or nerves, or they might hold in their material, silent human imprints, acting as emotional storage bins.

The artist presents a piece of (chewed) chewing gum for scientific consideration. It will be subject to a thorough examination and presented in an archival display. The proposition is that chewing gum can be reimagined as an energetic fossil, in which physical traces of the act of mastication, as well as the immaterial traces of the chewing human’s emotional life, are inscribed.

CONSIDER THE CHEWING GUM shows the limits of science in decoding complex human emotions and offers a new way to explore the emotional imprints that linger in our everyday practices and the objects associated with them.

Photos: Konrad Behr