Dust Prints: A Daily Practice
In addition to being a bed & breakfast set in a Victorian mansion, The Wedding Cake House is an ongoing artist installation project circling themes of repair and maintenance. My experience innkeeping at The Wedding Cake House soon pulled me into curiosity about those who lived there in a working capacity before me. This was compounded by the fact that there is an abundance of historical records pertaining to past owners of the house, but very little to no documentation about the people who worked for them. In an attempt to honor the domestic laborers who cared for this space but were lost to its archive, I began Dust Prints.
Dust Prints is a durational piece in which every day I was on shift, I collected dust from my routine sweepings of the house to make a cyanotype. Cyanotyping is a photographic process from the 1800s that used sunlight to reproduce astronomical notes and diagrams. Maintaining a house steeped in feminist history, it felt appropriate to work in a method popularized by Anna Atkins, widely regarded as the first woman photographer.
Photo by Julia C Liu, 2023
This body of work is dedicated to all service workers– in thinking of the recognition and tenderness you deserve. I would like to thank Julia C Liu, for teaching me about light and being my playmate in photography. Thank you, Rhode Island State Council of the Arts, for supporting Dust Prints in its early days. My gratitude to Keith Heyward, Hera Ford, Josephine Devanbu, Galadriel Brady, Ali Van, and Paula Pacheco Soto. Thank you, On Kawara, for inspiring this project and the question of how we can hold onto a day. Finally, thank you Xander Marro and Pippi Zornosa, for their care and wise counsel, and for dreaming The Wedding Cake House into existence in the first place. I am indebted to this space and the women artists involved here for my politicization around labor and feminism.