The heart of all forms of cultural memory is the remembrance of the dead. No one wants to be forgotten. For the ordinary person, the task of rememberence falls to their descendants. Recurring family names, objects handed down from family member to family member, and the preservation of the family photo album all act as a form of mnemotechnics. Specific memories of an individual will inevitably die out with the individual's contemporaries. The family photo archive can act as evidence for someones life.
The long and arduous task of sorting through a lifetime of valuables collected by my Grandparents was left to my family. We didn't connect with many of the random trinkets or mementos that had been significant to my Grandparents. The emotional value of these items died when my Grandparents did. The discovery of boxes upon boxes of slides in my Grandparents house, for me was a poignant one. Many of the slides had been disfigured by the passing of time, and I could not identify many people within the frame, but they had left their mark. Proof for a generation that will never know them, that they were once here, that they loved and were loved. Proof that they did something with the time that they had.
In the days before the digital era, the choice of what one would photograph was like choosing what moments were worthy of remembrance. Unfortunately, we do not have as much control over our memory as we would like to think we do. "Memory is not a protective container, but an imminent power, a driving force that follows it's own rules. This force can hinder recall, or it can block it completely. It can be influenced by insight or desire..." (Assmann, A, Cultural Memory, and Western Civilisation, Pg 23). When I found all these photos I spent days looking through them, searching for the Grandfather I have grown to forget. I found very few images of him, which leads me to believe that he was often the one behind the camera. There was even less evidence of our relationship. Through the thousands of snapshots I went through I found three photos of us together.
By animating these old images I am bringing moments that have long since died with the people who first experienced them back to life.
In an exhibition format, I would project these works onto the Gallery wall. The exhibition space would be darkened so all you could see as you walk through is the eyes following you through the gallery.