I refined my project idea so I had to begin again. I walked 4 locations and collected a rock at each one. In chronological order: the park near where I grew up, the train tracks between the park and my once-home, the street and backyard of said home, and the Newark Earthworks. The significance of each location is different.
The park is where I would go to be unsupervised as a child, leading to questionable decisions in my teen years.
The train tracks are the division between home and the park. I remember so many different moments here; crossing over to go to the fireworks at the park, running over to escape cops when we were out after curfew, walking along them to get donuts or ice cream. Then there was the traumatic video they showed us in middle school about the dangers of railroad tracks.
The home I grew up in is no longer home. The place that shaped me for 15 years was taken away during the pandemic. I remember wishing to move so many times as a child, feeling ungrateful for the roof over my head. Now that my family doesn’t live there anymore I miss it in a strange way. It was where I learned to ride a bike, where my sister was born, where I met my best friend, and so much more.
The Newark Earthworks is a beautiful Native American landmark in my hometown. My paternal family is part of the Delaware Lenape tribe. I grew up hearing my grandparents talk about all of the history and traditions of the tribe, and once I had the opportunity to go to a powwow with them. As I grew older and began to understand more about Native American history, this became one of my favorite places. In hindsight it shaped my thinking in many ways, but most significantly it gave me an appreciation for the beauty of geometry, space, and large scale works.
I documented each place through video, photography, and selecting a rock. I carried a piece of mirror on my journey, which shows up in many of the photos and videos. The mirror is important because it symbolizes looking back, seeing oneself, developing a new perspective, and re-imagining my narrative. In the end I plan to use the rocks to destroy mirror(s). The impact of each rock upon the mirror is a cathartic act. When I hold the rock I am holding all of these memories. When I throw the rock I am letting go of the weight of my past. When the rock breaks the mirror the ego is shattered. This cathartic action is essential because without it I would simply be walking down memory lane, letting those emotions flow with no outlet. No longer being held prisoner by my past means the freedom to define my future.