An archive of suburban Minnesota pilgrimage is a digital exhibition facilitated by Sophie Durbin for Pilgrim CHAT 2021, consisting of three new reliquary boxes created by Sophie and Tricky Position (a creative collaboration between Naomi E. Crocker and myself). Regarding our contribution, we explained: With close to 1 billion annual visits worldwide, IKEA stores facilitate modern-day pilgrimages, preaching the doctrine of creating “a better everyday life for the many people”. This reliquary box pays homage to artifacts collected by religious pilgrims in the medieval era via 12 found objects gathered at the suburban Bloomington (MN) IKEA. The box’s contents investigate various themes, including capitalism, sustainability, interior vs. exterior topography, affordability, and worship, while raising questions about contemporary delineations between material and spiritual pilgrimages.

Pilgrim CHAT Abstract: Pilgrims of the early medieval world traveling to the Holy Land transformed sacred topography into collectible artifacts by archiving soil, rocks, and pieces of relics into portable reliquary boxes (see: examples from the Sancta Sanctorum treasure in the Vatican). The boxes allowed travellers to access their devotional experiences by interacting with these blessed materials after their journeys ended. Drawing upon perceptions of place in medieval pilgrimage as well as modern artistic attempts to re-conceptualize place, this digital exhibition transforms materials of the suburban Minnesota landscape into contemporary relics through a trio of artist-made reliquary boxes.