Saved: Objects of the Dead is collaborative project consisting of photographs by Jody Servon and prose poems by Lorene Delany-Ullman.
Saved: Objects of the Dead is an exploration of the human experience of life, death, and memory. The project considers how memories of the dead become rooted in everyday objects, and how objects convey those memories to the living. The project features items people have saved from a deceased friend or family member.
Saved was conceived after my father and three friends died in a single year. Friends and colleagues
bearing similar loss openly shared stories of their own deceased loved ones with me. Many felt prompted to tell me about material possessions they kept after the death of a loved one. The depth of connection I made with the bereaved led me to borrow and photograph objects that they had held onto after the death of a family member or friend. Through these objects of memory and mourning, I became interested in sharing the recollections, stories, and experiences of the bereaved by honoring their deceased loved ones, and by engaging viewers/readers in a conversation about death.
As a collaborative project, Lorene and I composed interview questions for the owners of the objects she had borrowed to photograph. By email and in person, we interviewed those who had loaned an object to the project, and Lorene wrote prose poems based on the interviewees’ responses. The prose poems are meant to evoke the relationships, experiences, and memories between the objects of the dead, the relatives and friends who saved them, and the deceased. Often the language of the interviewee is directly incorporated into the poem, as language too contains the power to mediate loss. Saved: Objects of the Dead is a collaborative work between the artist and poet, and those who participate by lending their objects of the dead to be photographed and tell us their intimate, provocative, and sometimes embarrassing stories about themselves and their departed loved ones.
Saved: Objects of the Dead has been featured as a solo exhibition or select works have been in group exhibitions at: Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL; Brooklyn Art Space, Brooklyn, NY; University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND; Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center, Solomons, MD; Sumter Gallery of Art, Sumter, SC; William King Museum, Abington, VA;and in North Carolina at 5ive & 40rty Gallery, Winston-Salem; Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem; Orange County Historical Museum, Hillsborough; Cary Arts Center, Cary; Blue Spiral, Asheville; Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, Hendersonville; Caldwell Arts Council, Lenoir; Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, Boone; Hanover Art Gallery, Wilmington; Greensboro College, Greensboro and Western Carolina University, Cullowhee.
Saved Objects is also a participatory project. You are invited to contribute your photographs and stories of objects in memoriam and help us build an enriching collective art experience. More info can be found at savedobjects.org.
Follow the project on Facebook.
Saved installed at Haas Gallery at Bloomsburg University, 2010.
Saved has been featured on the cover and as the art feature in AGNI magazine and also in the literary journal Lunch Ticket.