Our Trace of Time: Nostalgia
An iteration of Our Trace of Time that engages two people in a heart-pouring dialogue around recalling shared memories.
Crafting a Journey into Nostalgia
My friends at the Flower Shop Collective invited me to share Our Trace of Time at their month-long pop-up in Cafe con Libros. Given the opportunity turn the experience into ticketed sessions, I expanded the project and integrated a guided dialogue into the dining experience using the design of a “seasonal special prix-fixe menu.” Guests are instructed to invite someone they are close with—a family member, close friend, or significant other. Disguised as a three-course meal, a series of carefully curated questions guide the pair on a nostalgic journey of recalling shared memories.
The Guided Dining Experience
I welcome the pairs as they arrive at the venue and seat them at my custom-made floor tables. Then I prepare my guests to gift their time to their dining partner and introduce them to our cafe menu (drinks and pastries) and Menu of Nostalgia (guiding questions). I take their orders and promptly serve their dishes, and the guided dialogue begins.
At the end of the three-course meal, I close the experience by walking them back through the emotional journey they just experienced. From the appetizer—where they’re prompted to share early personal stories perhaps from a time before the pair had met. Followed by the entrée, the core of nostalgia, where they recall memories that only exist because the two had met one another. The dessert then brings the pair back to the present day. They gifted each other their time, and our gift to the pair is their co-created artwork of their Trace of Time. We reveal the print together and it is a gift for them to take home.
In their words
“It was very therapeutic...it was nice to take the time for ourselves and talk about how we feel about each other and what we’re looking forward to.”
— Sam & Nathalle
“We’ve been together for...over 20 years, and there’re so many things [we did together that we] never take the time to remember.”
— Maya & Alex
“You rarely get the chance to appreciate your friends out loud to them... I don’t know why we don’t say [those words] to each other [more often].”
— Ashley & Olivia
“The work Kao is developing is captivating, just brushing against the edge of what relational theatre aims to tackle.”
— Allie Marotta, No Proscenium