A really interesting and lovely statement to encapsulate Estrada’s practice is one that “for the last seven years Anna has document life stories through photography and oral histories. Although the aesthetic very different to mine, and also the repletion of portraits belonging to the collaborator, there are many elements I love about this work and will take away form it. I particularly liked the re-photographing of the artefacts to sit with the oral histories of these Australian citizens.
On reading Christiane Monarchi’s interview with Daniel Blaufuks one prominent point stood out which I think encompasses one of the main ideas of my investigation so far. That is the idea that private moments are made public. I wold also like to work with more text in future projects as my reading and writing skills improve.
A really fascinating book by Marianne Hirsch, which has been pivotal in my current direction of my project. I think to understand what it is that I am doing through these conversations with my grandmother is a really important thing to do as I move through the FMP module. I think postmemory is such an interesting subject and not one that is widely talked about in contemporary photography as much as memory is. One point that really interests me as I start this book is the idea that “photographs promote forgetting…” (Hirsch, 2013) Do we rely on images to remember past events? in a sort of dont worry its on camera sort of way. One thing that I have picked up on before in the surfaces and strategies module when I first really started to look at the act of remembrance is the example of the mass amount of phone cameras pointing at the stage at a music concert or in the theatre. Everyone has this need to record but to the detriment of actually seeing it with heir eyes and remembering it. We now rely on these tools for remembering things, with more and more memories sitting on a cloud somewhere. This idea also paves the way for the way family albums are passed from generation to generation. In years to come it will be a grandparent clicking on a share link button somewhere to show the grandchildren the photos from their childhood.
Back to Postmemory then. Thinking about it in terms my own motivations to understand it, Postmemroy to me appears to be evidenced all round us. I have listened to countless stories of trips to Israel that my grandparents have taken over the years on pilgrimage, and have been on one of those pilgrimages but I in some ways remember the other ones too. I remember when Sue talks about certain people being there or when this or that happened as if I was there. Have I inherited those memories? passed down to me like the physical family album is..?
Images - https://www.instagram.com/davidfathi/
Besides form Wolfgang and Anecdotal being two very inspiring projects, I am also really interested in Fathi’s exhibition design. There is a playful element to what are sometimes serious topics, but the exhibition space always looks aesthetically pleasing and very different form the normal exhibition hang. I ave noticed that photography seems to be at a point at the moment where work is being displayed in more imaginative ways both on the wall and online. I really like the graphic elements to this display where the lines take you form one image to another. I had an idea of using the map belonging to my grandfather in a similar way in my exhibition possibly.
A great set of talks and a Q&A at The Photographers Gallery today as part of The Strangerlove Festival. Talking about their work were three very different but equally as interesting artists all who’s practise deals with ideas of time. I thought I would share some thoughts and ideas from the event.
Past and present in moving image - This idea of capturing the past and the present through moving image really interested me. As you are recording the present it immediately becomes the past, so is there really a way of recording the absolute present moment, unless through a live feed. This idea of live photography is something I would like to explore in the future.
Manipulating individual frames - I have an idea look at the individual frames of my grandparents wedding video to see where that investigation could take me. As I have been given all the individual frames as images this could be an interesting project in itself.
Light boxes - installation - I have always been intrigued by the use of the light box and so have contact a friend of mine who works with light boxes on a large scale in his work - Dominic Hawgood. As I use old slides quite frequently in my practise I think light boxes could be an interesting way to display my findings.
Making new histories from archive was something that really resonates with me, and I think in some ways describes what I have made through my Ipseity investigation. Taking archival material and constructing in a new narrative ( which could be anything from putting two images next to each there to view or by merging images) is making a new history. This is then also based on the ideas by Yass above where we are only briefly in the present and actually al the work we make becomes a new history.
Filming family looking through archive - I really love this work. It resonated with my ideas of family and how I am recording my conversations with my grandmother. Films overlayed with other images is also something I would love toexperiement with moving forward with Ipseity.
Immediacy of taking the image - Is this the idea of the snapshot. Possibly the way I try to take images using the point and shoot aesthetic?
same immediacy reconstructed when image is re scanned into archive?
Intercepting truth and fiction to create new narrative. I think the idea surrounding the truth in photography is for another time, however my project description of “An investigation into memory, Imagination and the family album” resonates here. Memory and the family album link whole heartedly but I think the area of imagination is something I can really experiment with for the FMP. Using some kid of distortion perhaps.
Live exhibition where she drew self portraits in the exhibition space. - This idea of the live exhibition is fascinating as it also delves tot he idea that it is in present but is also creating a new archive simultaneously.
Self scrutiny, Modes of recognition, Performative autobiography and The photography network along with The dark archive were the topics of Erika Scourfi’s practice. I have to be honest that her work did not resonate with me very much but one point did spark a new consideration into “Things not shared with many other people” (Scourfi, 2019).It made me think about my grandmother’s archive and towards the reasons for my specific interest in her past and indirectly my present and future. Making the private moments public began to be one of the ways in which I was seeing my own work. The idea that these personal archives in the present day sit on clouds and are sometimes never looked at again. Other more sentimental albums form my grandmother’s childhood are stored under the bed or in the attic and rarely glanced at. This investigation is about the act of looking, the way of seeing my grandmothers images and creating a new present day narrative from it.
New Memory - Facebook tells you when you have a new memory. This was another strand to Scourfi’s work where she talked about how we are now told when to remember and where the memory is filed. This is a rather different practise to mine where the memories are triggered through mutual conversation and recollection. What would happen if these memories of my grandmother's were instructed to us when to revisit them? Perhaps a new strand to my work in the future. It could some how like to the live view ideas above.
A key theme in my investigation is the actual act of conversation with my grandmother as a means to conserving memories (develop) In creating the final visual outcome for this project I was influenced by the ancient Chinese ‘arts of memory’ techniques where objects of memory are laced along a familiar path. This approach was adopted in my work through placing family photographs in a visual timeline to new displayed both on the wall and in a printed publication. (Develop)
The Family Archive -
“The record looks to a future time when things will be different” Annette Kuhn
Here Anette Kuhn talkes about the family photograph album and how it is represented in the present. Like Kuhn, I look at how the images are presented, but through other areas of my research and reflection, I make my own mark on them and try to in some ways change the direction of the narrative.
I remember Annette Kuhn talking about the family photograph which perfectly describes, although with my work it was her possession, my reasoning for starting to this investigation: “…On the surface, the family photograph functions primarily as a record..”
“The record looks towards a future time when things will be different, anticipating a need to remember what will soon be past.” (Kuhn 1995, 2002)At this point I was photographing to remember both her possessions ( memeories) as well as the moment.
Marianne Hirsch - Inheriting other peoples memories. In my work this inheritance is through memories of pilgrimage to Israel that I have never been on nor was alive to have experienced. Through images and stories that I have been told these ‘post memories’ are recalled/created.
Time & Duration -
Damien Sutton - Duration of time is an important element of my current practise. Memories from the past are dragged tot he present along a kind of timeline in which the duration of these memories is extended. The single image snapshot of time is extended. Does this mean that it is a moving image?
Continuing on from a previous post about Marianne Hirsch and Postmemory I wanted to highlight some further points of reflection.
Joan Gibbons writes on the subject of Memory and Photography and has introduced Marianne Hirsch’s description of Postmemory. She uses a lovely anecdote for Postmemory where she discusses it in terms of the primary and secondary witness. “Postmemory - secondary memory that has been passed constructed by the next generation rather than the primary witness” and then gos not o discuss how postmemory is “the inheritance of past events that are still being worked through.” This idea resonates with me when thinking about my grandmothers memories and the stories that I inherit through he conversations we have. Something I am a little less familiar with and something I will investigate further is what is meant by “still being worked through”. Is this referring to the wrk through of life in general or a more succinct working through like that of an investigation?
https://www.voyageuse.co.uk is a wonderful story created suing voice over narrative and beautiful archival photography. It tells the story of “Romance, Science and conspiracy in the 20th Century.” (Miles Thomas) This is the first time I have seen archival images used in such a beautiful way constructing a new narrative. I say this is a new narrative although I am distinctly aware that this is a true story, however, these images and sound recording are elements of a new constructed narrative of a life gone by.
I was particularly inspired not so much by the story but by the technical aspects of the film. I watched the pan and tilt of the camera in places, the use of images and moving image together where sometimes it wasn’t possible to tell the difference between the two. The quality and lighting of the old family photographs was just stunning and something I am going to look at in more depth is how I capture the archived images.
I have recently come across the work of photographer Jen Everett and in particular “Redoubled/Something We Carry” where Everett’s enquiry into the archive and in particular the investigation of repetition really interested me in terms of the idea of the cinematic.
As I have done with my investigation, Everett also uses repetition to increase the length of time the viewer stays with he image. My opinion is that like reading a book, we read the image in the same way. If there is repletion then the ‘reader’s' eye will be drawn from one side to the other and then down tot he left and then to the right like reading a book. Increasing the number of images in the sequence whether the same image of different images, will increase the duration of time spent looking into he piece of work.
These are a series of photographs of letters her mother wrote, photographed in the room they were found in. This series had a resemblance to the series I started to make of my grandmothers cooking recipes. Perhaps something to continue with in the future.
A nice example of how to photograph documents in their own surroundings.
After seeing Martin Creed being interviewed wearing lots of hats and glasses at the turner prize announcement ceremony I really wanted to have a look at some of his work and to see what it is that makes him tick.
This is a really interesting video about an upcoming show where he talks very frankly about the things that inform his practise and what it is he is trying to create. Well worth a watch at the link below the image.
I think what I am most interested about is the way he talks about his work. Its something I don’t do very well and can never really articulate what it is I am trying to do or make with my investigative practise. Thinking about the exhibition Im doing in April as part of my FMP I was thinking whether I should talk at the private view about the project. That led me to anxiety about what and how I would explain my work.
I was very interested indeed to hear Charlotte talk about “fixed lengths of film” and how they “correspond to a fixed period of time”. The intertwined relationship between the body and technology. I’m personally not so interested in this relationship between the body and technology but I am interested in Prodger’s discussion on technology and in particular this idea of the fixed duration fo time determined by the length of film.
I have never really thought about this duration being determined by a physical length of material before and its a really thought provoking idea. Particularly the idea of the family photographs Ive ben looking at are a sequence that ave been determined by a duration fo time and the length of the film.
Prodger also talked about her fascination with 16mm film, and this has come at an ideal point in my research as I have just been looking at my grandparents super 8 wedding video wondering how I can work with these images. Lots of ideas and thoughts about it to come…..
Some recent instagram inspiration which I shall talk more about in due course.
I was very interested in the two very different relationships seen during this video piece. One being the other and daughter relationship, and the other being the patient carer relationship both heard through recorded answer-machine messages.
What really drew me to this work was how I related to both of these relationships with my grandmother. The first being the Grandmother Grandson relationship and the second being the Grandson and patient relationship when she tells me about recent hospital visits and especially when she was really ill last year in hospital, which was actually when this investigation started.
The relationship to childhood shown through this film is also very interesting to me. I instantly recognised the lamp with the little baubles hanging off of it which I remember playing with a sa child at my grandmothers house. A memory I hadn’t recalled for some time until I saw this piece of work. However it was not all happy memories whilst watching. It gave me a feeling of sadness at the same time. Sadness that Martin’s Grandmother was alone, and it made me reflect on how life will be for my Grandparents once one of them passes away. This is something we has a family had a glimpse of when my grandmother was in hospital.
In some ways it has actually conjured up questions of my own in terms of how to tell the story I am trying to tell. Is the work Im making about me?, is it about my grandmother? or is it about something else entirely.
At present it just seems like a need to record.
I have contacted The Family Ties Network to try and gain permission to post the video on my CRJ. Otherwise you can view the full video here.
Since experiencing this work I wanted to read about the project. Rosy Martin emailed me a link to an essay about the project that I hadn’t come across before. The essay positions the practise and gives some detailed back story about Martin’s reasons for making the work. A few pointers below that resonated with me:
Firstly the opening line is something that I feel explains entirely the urge I had at the start of this investigation to photograph my grandmothers possessions as she was being taken off in the ambulance and that was that; “I am making this work because I must” (Martin, 1999)
Martin, R 1999 Too Close to Home? Tracing a familiar place, ‘N.Paradoxa: International Feminist Art Journal’ vol.3. ‘Body, Space and Memory’
I’m interested in the “Hybrid space between photo & video.” - David Campany
Technology has now enabled us to have a stills camera, a cinematic camera, a sound recorder, a mobile editing tool and more all incased in an Iphone. This however is not a new idea. David Campany Introduced us to The Sept camera, manufactured by Debrie, France, 1922. This was a camera capable of all these things in one device and covered all aspects of this Hybrid space mentioned earlier. This multi use device fulfils the “desire for fluid ability to switch between still and cine”(Campany) and has ignited some ideas for my final output of my FMP in terms of how to publish to multiple platforms using variations of the project for different outputs. In the coming weeks I shall be writing a project proposal and these influences and ideas gained form this conversation will be part of my initial proposal.
Damian Sutton gave an incredibly eloquent lecture on a basic level about the processes we have almost become so custom to that we don’t even realise it.
The duration of time produced when we make an image, The ‘communicability’ of taking a photograph. The Aura, as in the ritual surrounding objects when we decide to make an image. These are all things that at some point or another I have looked at in the past, however, from this lecture have returned to them but as a whole rather than individual ideas.
The theme that I kept returning to whilst listening was that of duration. How can the duration of time really be represented in this digital age? Personally, to explain this notion of time to an audience who may not have read or written about photography, would be through moving image. A way of showing time through a still image but as a piece of moving image. A still object recorded on a loop so that there is no movement but nevertheless it is still a moving image. This idea of the still moving image brought me back to my last post of using some of my grandmothers archived antiques as these moving stills. You can read my initial ideas in this post here.
You can watch the full lecture by Damien Sutton below.
This still life on it’s plinth against the black background has given me ideas surrounding the object, display on the plinth and also my grandmothers objects previously photographed in situ for My Grandmothers Cabinet of Curiosities. These items she has shown, talked about and displayed in [her] Cabinet of Curiosities is going to be the staring point for this Final Major Investigation.
Thinking about the different platforms and surfaces available, I like the idea of recording some ‘sound stories’ to accompany the still images. This int turn feels like it would lend itself to then be more of a moving image piece of work, and the idea of a revolving plinth where there is no beginning or end that there is with a still image or a cine sequence.
There is also the relationship my grandmother has to these objects where she has collected them and also collected the antiques magazines that they appear in with the amount they are worth circled for my mum and I to know where to sell them and for how much after her death - A sort of list of instructions after her death.
Another starting point I would like to consider working towards is something informed by the ancient classical and Chinese scholars technique, “where the subject mentally places the objects to be remembered along a path through a familiar location, recalling them by retracing the journey.”
From visiting the white cube ‘Memory Palace” exhibition I’m very keen to explore wider themes of memory: Historical, Traces, Collective and sensual. These could all be explored through my living Grandmothers archive.
Thinking of our memory as a kind of 'history book', or thinking about our fragments of memory in terms of 'geography'. We map our own paths collecting memorandum along the way. These paths can the be organised through the photographs made, the postcards collected and stored in an archive.
This idea of memory being related to geography reminds me of the Chinese Tradition 'memory Palace'. Items of memory are placed along a path known well to the person and the path is then travelled along passing past items of recollection.
This idea of geography, of recollecting the paths once travelled and also the objects of memory are all things I wish to integrate into my practise in the future - perhaps through landscape works or through physical travel to obtain a deeper understanding of what I understand to be my own methodology in memory work.
Marker, C. (2018). Immemory. [online] Chris Marker. Available at: https://chrismarker.org/?s=immemory [Accessed 19 Aug. 2018].
Thinking about the archive and how modern archives exist as an aid memoire to our natural memory, I was reminded of the installation Eric Kessels made where he printed all the photographs uploaded to Flickr in a single chosen day, commenting on mass consumption of images and the existence of such public mass archives.