By Nathalie Mei
The install combined an island-shaped sculpture of salt with an iPad. The screen displayed vertical rows of an 8-digit code. Furthermore I showed a hanging sculpture made out of draped rolls of transparent plastic film, thin metal wires and wood.
With this work in progress I aimed to explore how individual and collective memories manifest in objects and how the essence of origins and manifestations mutate in the context of duration.
Initially I approached the theme by joining 35 kg of salt, cooked beetroot and a digitally decoded, scanned picture. Abandoning the use of the beetroot during the process of installing turned out being beneficial to the work, because it resulted in a clearer visualisation. Nevertheless, the change also happened to be problematic, because it led to a binary fission within the work. My intention for the work was to investigate, how to preserve a memory and its nature as a cognitive image in the post-digital age. I wanted to understand the limitations within the process of transferring analogue traces of memories towards digital ones. In my understanding the term memory refers to an ephemeral experience, which punctuates the viewer’s reality. The converted image now pointed out how the representation of memory can be revealed (on a screen). In a consequence it failed to investigate its substantial side. The piece did not explore something that happened and how this manifests.
The salt sculpture provided a starting point for questioning the relation between the physical essence of being and the materialistic essence of photography as a medium to preserve its phenomenological remnants.
For the second part of the install I created a hanging sculpture out of draped rolls of plastic film, wire and parts of a previously used, destroyed wooden coat hanger. Compared with the first work, the piece had a lighter presence and proposed to explore the memories from a phenomenological perspective.
Although the moment of remembering presents itself as a visualization of an imprint of something that happened, the origin is abstracted, isolated from its historical content and put up on a stage within a non-physical space. Like the after image, it visually relates to a reality, which became lost. Like its significant, the memory cannot be embodied, a gaze under its surface offers the viewer a segmented image which contains notions of reference points but no clear centre.
In a less individualistic meaning, I aimed to observe how relicts of the past (a hangar) could, once they become redundant from their original functionality, still be tinted with their former cultural identity. Consequently, how individual memory can, once it slips the original condition of insular existence, spread into a collective context, where it afflicts collective identity and therefore the individual state of seeing.
In my opinion, the installed pieces worked coherently within the room. Furthermore they provided a point of departure to investigate the relation between memories and the image in the post-digital age. I am currently researching and working on developing the work further in terms of intention, media and materials.