Pew Center for Arts and Heritage

Get our monthly newsletter in your inbox for the latest on cultural events, ideas, conversations, and grantmaking news in Philadelphia and beyond.

Main page contents
Martha McDonald and Billy Dufala in Songs of Memory and Forgetting. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

Questions of Practice: Artists Martha McDonald and Billy Dufala on Ephemerality

In conjunction with the Center-funded project, Live at the Dump, presented by RAIR (Recycled Artist in Residence), performance artist Martha McDonald created Songs of Memory and Forgetting, a site-specific installation and performance on the grounds of a recycling facility. In the video that follows, McDonald and collaborator and RAIR co-founder, Billy Dufala, speak about how the process of sifting through piles of discarded domestic items influences their understanding of ephemerality and the fragile nature of memory. “I’m trying to get the audience to think about their own life and their own impermanence…which, in turn, is also a question of ‘how am I living now?’”, McDonald says.

Artists Martha McDonald and Billy Dufala on ephemerality. Filmed at RAIR (Recycled Artist in Residence) on May 14, 2016.

With Center support, RAIR presented RAIR: Live at the Dump, an interactive, site-specific program that utilized a series of performances, films, and discussions to increase public awareness of the waste stream and the role of art in shaping social and environmental consciousness. Learn more on the project website.>>