The Box Project

The Box Project emerged as a response to the death of my grandmother. My family inherited the task of sorting through an impressive amount of stuff—physical manifestations of events both big and small in my grandmother's life—that added up to a very tangible archive. I couldn't be there physically, but I felt compelled to build a tool that allowed me to participate in the process virtually. I arranged to have my mother set aside one box for herself, and send one box to me in Providence. We then unpacked one item from each box every day for two weeks, posting both the objects and the memories they evoked on a web site designed to highlight the ongoing dialogue that emerged between us. Now that the two weeks are over, The Box Project serves as a narrative portrait of someone who is gone, and a digital archive that complements and enhances its tangible counterpart.

The Box Project website created an interface for discussing the objects in each box. It also became an archive for outsiders to read after the project was finished.

A sample of the types of objects unpacked from each box.

A cautionary tale: data online is fragile.