Vlad Basarab is a multi-media, performance and video artist, a recipient of a Fulbright research grant on the impact of the communist period on intellectuals in Romania (2013-2014). He was born in 1977 in Bucharest and moved to Alaska in 1995, where he received a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Ceramics from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2001. Since 2013, he holds a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Electronic Media from West Virginia University, Morgantown. Basarab is currently a doctorate candidate at the University of Art in Bucharest. He took part in numerous international exhibitions and projects. The past plays an important part in Basarab’s creative process. The Archaeology of Memory Project has been influenced by the loss of collective culture and memory. The act of remembering becomes the only vehicle for keeping history alive.
The Archaeology of Memory Project is an installation consist of books made out of clay, wooden table and water. The Artist has chosen to reference books as a historic symbols of knowledge and collective memory. The videos are time-lapse recordings of clay books being dissolved over the course of seven days by dripping water. The deconstructive aspect present in the disintegration of clay books, references on a metaphoric level the breaking down of the mind and memory. The geologic-like changes that the clay books undergo reference loss of collective memory. Undoing the book in seven days, also references the creation of the world. Through the erosion of the clay books, the Author compares the process of memory and its disappearance to geological transformations.
From the beginning of history, there has been a connection between words and clay as the first forms of written knowledge were on clay tablets. While the loss of collective memory seems like a natural occurrence that one cannot stop, it is never too late to try to revitalize culture and language. Books have always seemed to make knowledge more tangible, yet in these videos they are crumbling away, dissolving in what appears to be a natural process. There is a sense of nostalgia for knowledge and culture.