I chatted with two of the artists from The Collective Studio last night about memory. Our lives as artists are so conjoined to the world of recollection and wherever we are physically, we immediately create layers that reclaim prior associations to help in extracting meanings from new experiences.
In the Netherlands I spent my time in structuring a personal project of intimacy whilst visiting museums within the normal routine of viewing them, where I began to record my image and other reflections on the glass protection of art objects and art works. These sandwiched yet flattened layers become yet another skin that holds the form of my physical presence and which will be further transposed when placed as the pictorial skin on the female figure when assimilating my new series of works.
Identity has long since evolved beyond being associated merely with issues of ethnicity and nation/state. Personal factors of who I am have always been pivotal in commanding the definitions of my politics. Resurrecting a broken spirit every time it maybe crushed I believe, requires that we comprehend the value of the lessons of vulnerability and not be overcome by the fear of its consequence. There is a fine line between conviction and rigidity, and the finesse to distinguish between this comes from openness to examine without prejudice.
My friend pointed out in Amsterdam how anthropological information, when researched by people outside of the specific political/cultural/geographic experience, perceives its understanding from stipulated availability of existing data and is a very different account than if compiled by a domicile of that region. This account may not necessarily be incorrect but it is formulated without the nuanced and the intimate space of perception, making it thereby prescriptive.
How much does memory get altered by what we decide is yet another question that varies from the circumstance of a memory, and what we desire it offers us. When war and genocide stain political history then collective memory offers to retain a conscience of atonement. The alteration of such memories is improbable, yet when filtered through the expressions of creative structures like literature, music, dance, theater and art we may well find that subjective perceptions may deliver them in modified and adapted ways.
I am always curious about the secret stories that objects carry with them. Silent memories that do not tell you everything but tease you into finding out. My own home is filled with objects.....not always antiques but just objects, some old and some new, that come from other homes and places bringing with them a multitude of stories I make mine from my imagination.
The episodes that shape our lives leave us with memories that are markers of both time and something far greater than that....they are more importantly perhaps the imprint of who we are. The memory of my son after his birth and the image of a child of a landline accident whose truncated body was propelled by his hands as he boisterously played a football game, are memories that form a vital part of the imprint of who I am.