City Souvenirs is a site-responsive project that uses walking, clay, and public participation to create tangible connections between people and place. Using a hand-fabricated steel cart to carry blocks of wet porcelain, the artists walk through neighborhoods in search of signature architectural details that visually and culturally define each place. By making direct impressions of these hallmarks in clay and inviting pedestrians to do the same, a collection of objects is built that evidences the relationship between individuals and the urban landscape, and how the distinct elements of our environment influence the ways in which individuals operate and move through a city. The clay acts as a conduit to heighten an individual’s sensation of touch and physical connection to their surroundings, and the resulting impressions become permanent ceramic records of particular moments between people and places. Installed in the gallery, these fired porcelain objects function as a map and archive of these experiences and the character of each particular place.
The City Souvenirs project has multiple branches, including artist-facilitated walks, exhibitions, and commissioned objects. The project began in 2009 as a collaboration between Nicole Seisler and Liene Bosquê. In addition to the artists’ ongoing collaboration, new partners are brought into the project regularly, and Nicole and Liene are working independently to expand City Souvenirs into new geographic and material territories.