More layering

The area that I have become very interested in is how memory becomes disturbed. I have listening to the audio recordings I made of my mother recollecting her past. I realize that in part I did this to assuage some of my curiosity regarding my father, but I have a strong feeling that I need to leave that alone and work on memory at a distinctly less intimately involved way; although I wonder how that might be achieved.

Listening again and again to the “mother” tapes I am struck by certain things: How the remembrances are repeated, probably because they are important memories, but in the retelling they often resurface slightly different, as if brining them to the open disturbs the memory, adding bits on, dropping or breaking bits off.

I describe this phenomena that I’m interested in on my website as: “..investigat(ing)es intimate responses to the temporal disjunctures of memory and the disruption of personal histories”. There have been several episodes in my mother’s personal history that I have returned to and without going into details they have never been retold in the same way, additionally there have been embellishments and contradictions – that I’ve never challenged. Of course there are many innocent reasons for this, and my interest in this area comes from how memory is re-presented. If the memory is ‘nice’ it might mean it is ornamented with other equally amusing anecdotes, but when it is an opposite memory then the recollection might have even more difficult observations brought to the surface.

My other chief concern in this new project is how to bring those words into the project, those words that describe hidden memories and which have lain dormant and seemingly collecting justification. I’m also interested in how real these episodes become when they are exposed, how current and still able to draw extreme emotional response, both from the teller and the audience.

In my last post I mixed image with image and with audio, but added the line that the words were spoken by an actor. I appreciate that by doing so I provide a tension in the viewer as to whether it is in fact an actor or the author. But also I feel that it is a form of performance, that combining of an utterance with an image that aren’t linked in any way other than through my psychological response to both. There is a performative process in recalling the past into the present (even if it then immediately consigned to the past).

I appreciate that this project is still unclear, perhaps it will never become clear, but I do feel that there is something strong enough in there to keep working at it.


4 thoughts on “More layering

  1. Lots of food for thought John. I keep wondering though whether “..investigat(ing)es intimate responses to the temporal disjunctures of memory and the disruption of personal histories” is the basis for all your future work or whether it is the glue that holds together the projects you have been working on recently and will work on for a while…I hope that makes sense. If it is the former, I wonder whether this statement might be too tightly framed?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can see your concern Keith, at present I see the Legacy project being concerned with the statement you mention and I want to focus on this as I build a practice. However I know I shall want to explore other tropes once I have a base.


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