practice is focused on history, memory
and social commentary stemming from a desire to understand grief and memory. One of
the core concerns about my practice is trying
to understanding this process of bereavement and how memories are formed as
objects manifest into memory triggers, souvenirs, photographs, newspaper clips,
locks of hair even certain smells.
memory Is limited we need images and resources, in order to remember our past.
tend to forget a lot more than we remember thus each memento becomes a tool for
us to remember-important enough to remember but vague in terms of structure a
relationship, a letter, a note -a post card-a ticket –things often of no or
very little value but as a whole the form a coherent narrative from these fragments
indicative of a personal or collective memory
the 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 we
perceive as the truth?
During the course of
unit 1 I was introduced to Adobe premiere which has helped me be more open to
experimentation, while exploring the themes of memory other than a more
traditional painting practice.
video consists of fragmented shots that on the surface have no apparent relation
however the shots form a narrative with the text that appears In between the
video sequences-a dialogue that is ambiguous in nature where it is unclear
whether the addressee is the viewer / a lover /an offspring / a parent. The premise
of the video takes on the ideas of the letter project forward. As well as using Screen printing to produce a series of
prints, the screen prints are yet at a preliminary stage going further in to
unit II I plan to explore and expand on this line of practice.
For my research, I have been predominately referring
to Hito Steyerl, Barthes and Proust looking at the idea of memory in context
of the photograph.
Hito Steyerl in her essay “In defence
of a poor image says” The poor image is a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolution
substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, a
preview, 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 about
an image being compressed, reproduced,
ripped and remixed in notions of a photograph our memory works on a similar
tangent forever being replaced and rewritten.
Both Proust and
Bathes describe the essence of memory in longing to remember things, what
activates this particular memory- scent-touch- taste -desire- these are the
lenses that one remembers their experience be it good or bad. In Proust’s case
the banal act of soaking biscuit transports him to his childhood – similarly
each memory acts a palimpsest where the actual act is often forgotten only to
be rewritten upon recollection and shaped by the moment in which it is remembered
therefore the ‘Memory” will be written over upon every recollection till there
is only a fragment of truth.
Barthes in his book
Camera Lucida describes the photograph in this lens not as an aid to remember
the memory but what he coins as anti memory
he describes this especially through the process of grieving first “….Now one November evening shortly
after my mother’s death, I was going through some photographs. I had no hope of
finding her.” Here he is
lamenting the loss of his mother and even though he is looking at the
photograph he has difficulty reconciling the memory of his mother and the woman
he 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 living
resurrection of the beloved face “; here unlike Proust the photograph is unable
to transport him to the memory of his mother he recalls her only through the
lens of his grief. However, he goes on
“There I was, alone in the apartment where
she had died, looking at these pictures of my mother, one by one, under the
lamp, gradually moving back in time with her, looking for the truth of the face
I 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 of
his mother as a young girl- he describes the photograph in a loving and almost reverent manner as if his dead mother had come back and
he was looking at her once more –the reader never sees the photograph but the impeccable
detail makes the photograph like a tangible memory here like Proust who lulls
the reader to imagine taste of tea soaked madeleines Barthes transports the
reader to his own lived experience.
have also been looking at Doris Salcedo’s work Particularly her Sculpture pieces,
Andreas Huyssen in his
book of essays refers to Doris Salcedo’s work as a memory sculpture while it
stems from the concept of private and public memory in huyssen’s view it
neither has the trademark of overly nostalgic element nor the overt romanticizing
that we have come to expect from works about public and private memory he describes
her work as elusive and tantalizing. Similarly, Susan hiller’s work Monument which
addresses themes of death, memory and representation where the objects that are
erected in order to remember are in fact forgotten. While Marlene Dumas’s work
mostly addresses the ideas of representation her painting Dead Girl for me is reflective on what the last memory of the
At this point in
Unit 1 I have tried moved away from my already established practice that
predominately dealt with painting and move forward looking at the approach in
an analytical way.