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The Fantastic Archive of Jordan Schwamm

The Fantastic Life and Archive of Jordan Schwamm was a fictional collection, performance, installation, and exhibition catalogue based on the sponge collection of an imaginary person named Jordan Schwamm. Jordan is gender fluid, just like a sponge. The installation was a series of eight dioramas set up in a forgotten alcove of RISD’s old library, where Schwamm (the German word for sponge), was a librarian. Schwamm, who died unexpectedly at the age of thirty-three, had collected hundreds of wild and domesticated specimens. This exhibition was intended to celebrate their life and honor both their sponge collection and their passion for the porous. Cards with a description of a relationship to Schwamm were given to participants when they entered the installation. Joseph Allegro, acting as an exhibition guide, explained the space and dioramas, talked about the history of the sponge, and gave an outline of Schwamm’s life. Participants were then invited to take an exhibition catalogue, a serving of sponge cake, and a few posters. After Allegro’s tour, Joel Kern, posing as Schwamm’s colleague, and I, as their sister, both performed eulogies. Some of our audience cried.

Created in collaboration with Joel Kern and Joseph Allegro

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