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Brica Wilcox begins the destruction on day two with a sledge hammer. Photo by Jeremy Glaholt.

LOS ANGELES — We all want to be rid of certain things. Prized possessions that have fallen out favor. Mementos of love lost and embarrassing youths. But it’s hard to part with what we own.

D3: Object Divestment Services aims to assuage this need to leave the past behind us. In a recent piece for Machine Project in Los Angeles, they invited Angelenos to bring objects from 1980 to be assembled into a “sculptural archive on-site.” Participants submitted their items with a special form and the next day watched the destruction in a “transformative ritual.”

Megan Cotts works on adding objects to the archive structure. Photo by Emily Wynns.

“We usually do the process on own our own in our studio,” explained D3, a collective of artists Megan Cotts, Ali Prosch and Brica Wilcox. In Machine Project’s public space, they filled up a structure of embodied memories from 1980, wrapped it in shrink wrap and destroyed it bit by bit with anything from hammers to liquid nitrogen.

The project immediately reminded me of Death Bear, performance artist Nate Hill’s dark creature bear relieves sad New Yorkers of emotionally charged possessions. D3 say they’re fans of the project. But whereas Death Bear brings the items to a cave, the artists made the destruction all the more present — and perhaps more cathartic.

“People really visited,” they told me. “They came back at different times to see the different stages of destruction. We reduced the amount of matter we had to get the smallest possible form.”

D3 actively receives new commissions with the cheerful motto “We help you know what you need to not need.” Be sure to check out their information pamphlet and submission form. The bureaucratic process helps, perhaps, with helping us distance ourselves from what we own.

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An Xiao

Artist An Xiao (aka An Xiao Mina) photographs, films, installs, performs and tweets and has shown her work in publications and galleries internationally. Find her online at @anxiaostudio...