New York-based artist Michael Mapes takes documentation and preservation to another level. His series of works found in his virtual museum called Room 62 display tubes, glass vials, plastic bags, and gelatin capsules filled with “specimens” in an enclosed shelf. Each encased box has a unique subject whose physical identity is represented in a series of dissected photographs, which can be found within said containers or simply pinned to the backboard.
This artistic method of preservation is an interesting process normally applied to butterfly and bug collection displays. It seems like Mapes is taking things beyond simply displaying a portrait and perhaps offering a system to retain one’s complex memory of a person or to visually analyze one’s being. Whatever the case may be, the works certainly strike a conversation about identity.