Behind the Treasures—Jewelry, Garments and Embodied Memories

Tianrui Yu

Immaterials embodied in the materials—an exploration of the relationship between humans and their belongings.


This installation is a part of INTER\VIEWS: an inter\active oral history exhibition, showcasing multimedia projects and stories recorded by the 2018-2019 cohort of Columbia University’s Oral History MA program. Register here!

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People wear certain things for reasons. Memories, stories, feelings, spirits and values are embodied in dural objects and therefore become stubborn. It might be just a ring, a scarf, a white t-shirt. But it could be the ring your mother gifted you, the scarf you purchased on a sad rainy day, or the white t-shirt you wore the day you ran into the love of your life in the street corner coffee shop as flowers were blooming out of your heart. Then your “worldly possessions” become meaningful. 

Click here to view transcripts!

Tianrui Yu is an OHMA student originally from Beijing, China. She earned her B.A. in Sociology and International Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Tianrui believes in the bonding power of stories and currently she is exploring identity, familial relationships, and the sense of home and belonging. Tianrui is a 2019 Davis Fellow.