York St Mary's

2007-2008 Installation: The Memory of Place

For The Memory of Place, which ran for two seasons in 2007 and 2008, artist Keiko Mukaide created a space in which to reflect on the memory of loved ones. A pool of water filled the nave of the church, with the water flowing towards the transept of the church, where a suspended column of glass rods was dramatically top-lit, suggesting a spiritual path to a higher place.

Visitors were invited to light a votive candle and float it on the pool in memory of loved ones – connecting our modern life with that of our ancestors. In the Japanese religious ceremony, Shoro nagashi, people release lanterns onto a river in mid summer, symbolising their ancestors’ spirits ascending to heaven.

When the installation re-opened in 2008, Keiko added a new dimension to the installation with The Wish Tree. Here a forged iron structure sculpted to look like a weeping willow was covered with folded pieces of handmade paper, tied to the branches.

Visitors could write a wish on a piece of the paper using a Japanese pen before folding it into a strip, origami-style, then adding it to a branch.