suitcase installation

RENATE FERRO "This suitcase has no bottom" A video and sound installation for the Freud Museum, London                                

"...Wilhelm Stekel, who had claimed in his own writings on dreams that “luggage one travels with is a load of sin…that weighs one down.” (cited in ID, 393). Modern parlance sometimes sides with Stekel, defining “baggage” (in the US, synonymous with “luggage”) as a slang term that “refers to ideas and memories from the past that weigh you down.” “He”—or she—“has a lot of baggage,” we say. Emotional baggage; cultural baggage, even intellectual baggage.  Thoughts and associations, it is implied, that might be packed off, rather than unpacked. "
_Marjorie Garber in “Baggage Screening”
Catalog essay for Freud Museum Show, “Saying It” September, 2012

“This Suitcase Has No Bottom” is a video and sound installation I am crafting presently for an exhibition in the Freud Museum in September of 2012.  The video presents a suitcase, much like the one that Anna Freud used throughout her life that is archived as part of the Freud Museum’s collection. Packing and unpacking, the items within the suitcase seem to be ordinary items one would include for travel: a dress, an undergarment, a coat, shoes, accessories.  These items though in this personal suitcase are those that have been saved through the years or passed down from someone in my own family. Appearing and disappearing from the suitcase each of my items is entangled with a personal narrative of mine. Each of the objects in the suitcase serves as mnemonic devices that trigger sensations, stories, fantasy and memory. 

In this project I am letting go of my own stories and asking you to replace mine with your own. Do you have a garment or accessory that you have kept though the years? It may not fit, be moth eaten or even faded but you just cannot seem to part with it?  Perhaps it belonged to your grandmother, mother, a friend?   Explain to me what the item is and why yo is it that you can not let it go.  Why is it so important to you that you have not recycled it or thrown it away?  for inspiration and still images

To participate in this project:

If you are technologically savy record a high quality audio file and send it to me via email or dropbox. Or zip the audio file and send it if it is too large. Though wav or aif files are best any will do but send me the highest quality with clear sound.  Try to record in a quiet space with not much background noise.

Or for those of you who want to keep it simple write your narrative and send it via email to

I am working on a deadline so send your stories as soon as you can. I am aiming to collect fifty narratives by the end of this week, July 22nd. Don’t worry about editing because I will do that.  Just record or write something and send it off. I will take care of the edits. I am really looking forward to incorporating your contribution to this project.