Memory is a strange place, what does it look like?

North, Laurence ORCID logoORCID: (2023) Memory is a strange place, what does it look like? In: Haunted Landscapes: Nature, Super-Nature, and Global Environments, 4-6 July 2023, Falmouth University, Falmouth, Cornwall, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract / Summary

Memory is a strange place, what does it look like?

In order to question the visual nature of memory and the experience of remembering I produced a series of memory paintings to test how I might evoke, experience and picture distant memory. This proposed paper will discuss six of those paintings. The paintings were informed by a relationship between photography and memory as evidenced by the conceptual art of Boltanski, Sebald’s illustrated novel Austerlitz and Barthes book Camera Lucida. The paintings explore the nature of photography as a signifier of memory. The paintings evolved through three generations and depict in various ways small plastic toys that match those found in my childhood memories. At various stages the paintings evoke the characteristics of pinhole photography and the mapping of shadows which is in itself a form of photography. The paintings also make use of observational studies and images drawn from memory, both of which seem to strive to be photographic. Barthes argues in Camera Lucida that certain photographs involve a punctum, that is a particular tigger of pure memory linking the viewer to their past experience. The process of making the memory paintings evoked in me a cascade of memory that resonated with Barthes encounter with a photograph of his late mother, however my paintings are not photographs. Consequently, I would argue that Barthes’ punctum is not limited to the photograph but may be found in images where the abstracted essential nature of the photograph may be located.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Arts > Illustration
Arts > Fine Art
Arts > Photography
Courses by Department: The Falmouth School of Art > Fine Art
Depositing User: Laurence North
Date Deposited: 20 May 2024 13:23
Last Modified: 20 May 2024 13:23


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