Mypractice is focused on history, memoryand social commentary stemming from a desire to understand grief and memory. One ofthe core concerns about my practice is tryingto understanding this process of bereavement and how memories are formed asaffect Banalobjects manifest into memory triggers, souvenirs, photographs, newspaper clips,locks of hair even certain smells.
Ourmemory Is limited we need images and resources, in order to remember our past. Wetend to forget a lot more than we remember thus each memento becomes a tool forus to remember-important enough to remember but vague in terms of structure arelationship, a letter, a note -a post card-a ticket –things often of no orvery little value but as a whole the form a coherent narrative from these fragmentsindicative of a personal or collective memoryWhilethe photograph-object offers the possibility that the memory will never fade,it also eclipses the original memory and ultimately, replaces it with a poor facsimile.what is the true memory if all memories are built upon the last memory that weperceive as the truth? During the course ofunit 1 I was introduced to Adobe premiere which has helped me be more open toexperimentation, while exploring the themes of memory other than a moretraditional painting practice.Thevideo consists of fragmented shots that on the surface have no apparent relationhowever the shots form a narrative with the text that appears In between thevideo sequences-a dialogue that is ambiguous in nature where it is unclearwhether the addressee is the viewer / a lover /an offspring / a parent. The premiseof the video takes on the ideas of the letter project forward. As well as using Screen printing to produce a series ofprints, the screen prints are yet at a preliminary stage going further in tounit II I plan to explore and expand on this line of practice. For my research, I have been predominately referringto Hito Steyerl, Barthes and Proust looking at the idea of memory in contextof the photograph.
Hito Steyerl in her essay “In defenceof a poor image says” The poor image is a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolutionsubstandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, apreview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image distributed for free,squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped,remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution.
– The same can also be said for how memory works while Steyerl talks aboutan image being compressed, reproduced,ripped and remixed in notions of a photograph our memory works on a similartangent forever being replaced and rewritten.Both Proust andBathes describe the essence of memory in longing to remember things, whatactivates this particular memory- scent-touch- taste -desire- these are thelenses that one remembers their experience be it good or bad. In Proust’s casethe banal act of soaking biscuit transports him to his childhood – similarlyeach memory acts a palimpsest where the actual act is often forgotten only tobe rewritten upon recollection and shaped by the moment in which it is rememberedtherefore the ‘Memory” will be written over upon every recollection till thereis only a fragment of truth. Barthes in his bookCamera Lucida describes the photograph in this lens not as an aid to rememberthe memory but what he coins as anti memoryhe describes this especially through the process of grieving first “….
Now one November evening shortlyafter my mother’s death, I was going through some photographs. I had no hope offinding her.” Here he islamenting the loss of his mother and even though he is looking at thephotograph he has difficulty reconciling the memory of his mother and the womanhe is looking at.
He goes on to say ” .. I was sorting them, but none seemed to me.really ‘right’: neither as a photographic performance nor as a livingresurrection of the beloved face “; here unlike Proust the photograph is unableto transport him to the memory of his mother he recalls her only through thelens of his grief. However, he goes on “There I was, alone in the apartment whereshe had died, looking at these pictures of my mother, one by one, under thelamp, gradually moving back in time with her, looking for the truth of the faceI had loved. And I found it. ” He describes the photograph in impeccable detail , blunted a corners,the faded sepia hue the posture of his mother and her brother-the gentleness ofhis mother as a young girl- he describes the photograph in a loving and almost reverent manner as if his dead mother had come back andhe was looking at her once more –the reader never sees the photograph but the impeccabledetail makes the photograph like a tangible memory here like Proust who lullsthe reader to imagine taste of tea soaked madeleines Barthes transports thereader to his own lived experience. .
Ihave also been looking at Doris Salcedo’s work Particularly her Sculpture pieces,Andreas Huyssen in hisbook of essays refers to Doris Salcedo’s work as a memory sculpture while itstems from the concept of private and public memory in huyssen’s view itneither has the trademark of overly nostalgic element nor the overt romanticizingthat we have come to expect from works about public and private memory he describesher work as elusive and tantalizing. Similarly, Susan hiller’s work Monument whichaddresses themes of death, memory and representation where the objects that areerected in order to remember are in fact forgotten. While Marlene Dumas’s workmostly addresses the ideas of representation her painting Dead Girl for me is reflective on what the last memory of thedeceased is. At this point inUnit 1 I have tried moved away from my already established practice thatpredominately dealt with painting and move forward looking at the approach inan analytical way.