spirit machine: grandpa



My grandfather died in January of 1998. After his death, I wanted to have a way to remember him, a way to remind myself of the incredible contribution he made to make me the man that I am today. My solution was to create this spirit machine.

The idea of "spirit" has almost as many definitions as there are people on the Earth, but to me a spirit is an essence. When we die, our spirits live on in the hearts and minds of those on whom we have left a lasting impression. This piece of our self is then transmitted in the same way to each succeeding generation.

I had a fan that my grandfather had made with his own hands. I remember that he used to shine it on himself when he took his summer naps on the old musty brown couch in the basement.

And those same summer memories would not be complete without the television. This was before the Chicago Cubs played night games at home, and I remember never being able to watch cartoons on game days. I spent long, hot afternoons sitting on the floor in the air-conditioned living room listening to my grandpa yell at the Cubs.

I questioned my mother and my grandmother intensively about my grandfather's life. I recorded these conversations and combined them with snippets of audio culled from old family home videos.

These elements were brought together to create this spirit machine, this memory carried by wind and whispers.





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