The Altar: Good Memories of Bad Love
Exhibited at the Museum of Broken Relationships, Los Angeles, September 2017
Even our worst relationships have value, but we fixate on what didn’t work - on the ending. People like to remind us what went wrong. Your family says they never liked him anyway and your friends say you’re more fun without her. Everyone assures you that you’re better off. You’re expected to throw the whole thing away, but why forfeit good memories to a bad ending?
The Altar: Good Memories of Bad Love is an interactive installation that provides a place to honor your exes and think fondly of the best parts of even your worst relationships. It’s a place to consider what you learned, how you grew, the bond you shared - a place to think of breakups not as failures, but as educations. Visitors are invited to box up their worst memories and sacrifice them to The Altar. After letting go of the bad parts, they'll find it easier to appreciate the good.
The Altar is a follow-up to the illustrated book of short stories, How We End. made in collaboration with writer, Hannah Schneider. How We End. chronicles the romantic history of an unreliable narrator. The book is about intimacy and heartbreak, but also about the way we communicate and the way truth deteriorates every time we tell a story.
The Altar opened on September 9th, 2017 and over the course of a month, it accumulated over 500 bad memories. The exhibition also included selected stories and images from the book, as well as three telephones that visitors could pick up to eavesdrop on conversations we had with our exes about what went wrong. The exhibition culminated in a storytelling event on October 1st, at which participants recounted the best parts of their worst relationships.