University of Tasmania
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Memory's Image

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posted on 2023-05-25, 23:56 authored by Frost, RE
How can the process of memory be represented in visual terms? This project investigated the nature of autobiographical or recollective memoryusing photographically derived, computer environments as a visual art form; and is based on some of the wealth of material written about 'memory' or 'memories' and recollection. My aim was to consider this material and use it as a basis for generating work that visually explored the attributes of memory; that evoked the sensation of remembering one's past and, in particular, memories of childhood. In researching the experience of recollective memory I identified the memory image as pivotal. In brief, I proposed that central to the experience of remembering is the occurrence of a memory image. But when people say, 'I remember,' what are they actually seeing? Is there a visual language of memory that is shared by us all? How might we see memory in our mind's eye? Secondly, what is the nature of this encounter? Could this experience be described as interactive? Would some form of interactivity be a useful addition to the work? In considering the issue of interactivity as a viable option for the experience of remembering, I was to find firstly, that the process is primarily reactive whether undertaken voluntarily or involuntarily - a cue provokes and we react Secondly, the interactive element I had questioned was vastly different to that which I had originally conceived. Instead of a trigger for an image it was an engagement with the image. Rather than being the cause of an action, the interactivity comes as we embroider and place it in a context We weave the fragments together to tell a story. Interestingly, as I reviewed the visual characteristics of the memory image I found no clear demarcation. It appeared to be highly subjective, with comments ranging from unclear, little or no color and hazy, to highly detailed and vivid. In a similar manner the size and position of the image in space varied. The most important element for me was the notion of these images as small fragments of experience rather then complete episodes in themselves. In resolving how to evoke an experience of remembering, my work shifted from a screen-based CD-ROM style presentation to video installation. I moved from the use of still photographs to the utilization of full screen digital video as I struggled to represent the memory image in a dynamic rather than static form - as remnants of lived experience rather than frozen instances of time. The thesis exhibition presents the viewer with these fragments. Interaction is present less in the triggering of the memory than in the associations - in the narrative that is constructed and woven from remnants. Although the imagery does, at times, reference glimpses from my own childhood, I have also been concerned to evoke a more generic representation of the memory image. It is my hope that this project will contribute to an understanding of the visual nature of the memory image and its role in the experience of remembering.


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