“Time travel is an experience and social practice in the present that evokes a past (or future) reality.”
— Cornelius Holtorf, On the Possibility of Time Travel (2009)
In the place where I dream, the nature of history was once revealed to me. I saw history as layers of dust blanketing the whole world. The historian gathers up as much dust as they can hold, deconstructing the stratigraphy layer by layer. The dust is precious because it is composed of great and terrible people and places that have decayed and crumbled over time. The historian is assured of the true quality of the dust even if they cannot see the whole from the miniscule remains. When the dust overflows the heavy hands, the historian greedily consumes the pile. Their teeth grind the dust over and over until it is transformed by heat and pressure and moisture into small clear diamonds. The historian spends their life passing people on the street, trying to give them diamonds through which to see the truth. But all the passers-by see is the dust.
Jasmine Chu (1992-2092)
Applied Authenticity 2018
Acrylic, copper, patinas, assorted plastics, museum board
This diorama is an exploration of patina as a metaphor for the passage of time. The background is compiled from scenery found in the illustrations of Andreas Vesalius’s 16th century medical text, De humani corporis fabrica. Celestial bodies on the horizon are copper plates with various patinas created in a series of material experiments. Objects in the foreground are sourced from the Wickenden Street shop, Nostalgia, and given a veneer of copper paint.
Jasmine Chu is a second-year student in Brown University’s Public Humanities MA program. This piece was created as part of a larger project exploring the science, art, and history of patina.