About the exhibition:
Autobiography poses questions around authenticity unique in non-fiction writing. An autobiographer may use facts, figures and first-person accounts, much like a historian, but those who choose to recount their own histories must also rely on much more ephemeral sources. For all memory is fallible and fragmentary, it still serves as a prominent source for many autobiographers. The process of reconciling your memories with what others present recall and squaring these collected memories with historical events often leads to conflicting reports and incompatible timelines. Questions surrounding the autobiographical self are compounded in graphic memoirs, where self-representation becomes another key to unlocking one’s past. The act of drawing makes the subjectivity of the author manifest in all facets of the narrative.
Using her own childhood memories, Kat Lombard-Cook attempts to interrogate how mnemonic story-making is at the heart of identity formation. While there may appear to be no overt coherence between memories of her father’s post-divorce apartment and a walk in the woods behind her familial home at age 5, both stories are retained and retold subconsciously in order to emphasize certain facets of herself. How is the self our memories author different from the self we perceive? Can these disjointed fragments of past experiences coalesce into a narrative whole via engagement from a reader? Are there methods within the practice of art-making that can expand the limited memories at our disposal to show us a broader picture of our past? These are the questions at the heart of Kat’s practice. This exhibition draws from work created in the first two years of her PhD in Design, ‘Analyzing and Interrogating Narrative Structure Through Comics’, which she is undertaking at the Edinburgh College of Art with the supervision of Glyn Davis and Beverly Hood.
Webcomics and embroidered maps
These comics were created for Team Girl Comic’s weekly webcomic. They are part of an ongoing series examining my daily routines, starting at age 30, in 2013, and working back in 5 year increments. These comics are the first layer, the scaffolding if you will, of a visual exploration of my memories. This conceit proved harder than I expected, and I quickly realized that, for many seasons of my life, my memories centered less on the what and more on the where. I had specific territories, routes and routines that defined periods of my life.
A lot of my daily routines after the age of 18 center around driving. After a while, driving the same roads become less of a mental act and more physical. You know all the turns and potholes and rely more on muscle memory than observation. Drawing these roads, I can still picture the scenery, know which ones flood in the spring rain, which roads the snowplows hit first, where the traffic lights will slow me down. As I lay down the ink to stand in for tarmac, I am led down mental side paths and byways, visual layers of the same road in different seasons and different years. It’s almost a meditative act.
The series of embroidered maps were born from this web series. The repetitive act of embroidery allowed me to enter a similar mental space as my daily driving.
290 Edgell Rd
As part of an ongoing project exploring the relationship between memory and place, these photos document the augmentation of a doll house and creation of dioramas that depict my childhood home.
I am also keeping a memory journal in order to record the specific details I can recall from this location. I am attempting to push the limit of how much I can recall by revisiting these rooms repeatedly in my mind. I am also recording stories and memory-fragments from my childhood. By cataloguing my recollections, I will eventually be able to see if certain stories reappear and if my memories cohere, or if the stories vary depending on context or mood.
Displayed here are images of two of the dioramas and a detail of the roof from the doll house. The dioramas recreate the dining room and half of the living room from the first floor apartment of the house I grew up in, as these rooms were laid out when my grandparents lived there from 1989–2000.
Exhibition in situ
Poster for Exhibition Opening