Proust and Bathes describe the essence of memory in longing to remember things
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 a 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
reshaped by the moment of remembrance 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
He describes the photograph in impeccable detail
, blunted 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.
My practice is focused on history, memory and social commentary stemming
from a desire to understand grief
and memory. One of my core concerns about
my practice trying to understanding this process of bereavement and how
memories are formed as affect
Banal objects manifest into memory triggers, souvenirs,
photographs, newspaper clips, locks of hair even certain smells.
Our memory Is limited we need images and resources, in order
to remember our past.
We 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