Memory and the Baseball Archive

Over at the excellent Triple Canopy, Colby Chamberlain interviews Bryan Zanisnik, whose recent installation, “Every Inch a Man,” features Zanisnik “spend[ing] five hours a day, Thursday through Sunday, inside a Plexiglas booth, reading a copy of Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel (1973) while wearing goggles to protect his eyes from the baseball cards and outdated currency being blown about by the fans installed within the booth’s base.”

Zanisnik on the individualized baseball card (hyper)archive: “I was looking at [my baseball card] collection for the first time in probably twenty years, yet when I picked up individual cards I could remember all sorts of details: which position in the outfield someone played, which year he made the All-Star team. This physical interaction stirred up dormant long-term memories.From that point on, I began conceiving of these sets and installations as physical manifestations of childhood memory—albeit ones structured by commodity culture. It’s the visual and tactile qualities of these consumer objects that activate a set of memories for me and hopefully for others as well. ” “Baseball Card as Madeleine” indeed.

Bryan Zanisnik, 18 Years of American Dreams, 2010

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