The first Exhibit we viewed was Material for a Film by Emily Jacir. I was interested that such a biographical and historical piece was displayed in the context of the gallery space. The way Emily traveled to Italy to follow in the foot steps of the now deceased Palestinian writer Wael Zuaiter (gathering artifacts and information) reminded me of Lindsay Seers process in It Has to Be This Way. Lindsay Seers travels to Rome after her step sister’s disappearance. While in Rome Lindsay carries out research on the subject of her sisters obsession: Queen Christina of Sweden. Lindsay merges the personal narrative of her family with subjugation of Ghana under the rein of Queen Christina as she continues her travels. Emily Jacir does not blur the lines between historical/collective and personal memory/knowledge in this way. I find the cross over, where similarities are drawn and boarders crossed, in Lindsay’s work captivating. I am interested in the catalogical nature of the collection and exhibition of personal artifacts, photographs and newspaper clippings, photographs documenting the artist journey, and sound clips surrounding Wail Zaiter’s life and death in the work Material for a Film.
Catalogue is also used in Flat Waste by Dieter Roth as I learned in the Theory lecture on Minimalism. In the creation of Flat Waste Dieter Roth decides on a parameter/set of rules and the material; after this decision is made he simply follows it through with no exceptions. The catalogue requires obsession and may appear rational but is not particularly rational at all, it is at once intimate and cold/clinical. This is also evident in Lindsay Seer’s process with bumble bees in It Has to Be This Way. Once again this allows for chance and discovery. Life and its infinite possibilities enters the work.
Through further research into Dieter Roth I discovered the Solo Scenes. I am very intrigued by this work. I imagined following this process last week before I became aware of the body of work. However my reasoning was more centred around the self in an unwatched state and the experience of trying to be unaware of the camera in order to capture this state. The following video on Dieter Roth was inspiring in the way is reminded me to be prolific and that one of the essential qualities of an artist is the willingness to try things. I am often fearful of failure and the simple act of trying. However, the root of learning is actually embracing failure.
I would like to catalogue memories by recording myself recounting them. There is something both rational and irrational about this process. Relying on memory to describe events is hardly objective but it does create its own logic. The memories that do stand out and the feelings that have been attached to them tells a story of a person, forms them in a sense.
When I imagined this project I was reminded of Rebecca Horn’s Turtle Sighing Tree 1994 (the year of my birth).
I invision a similar installation to this one that would represent the tree of life with ‘branches’ coming. Many small out its for speakers playing a recording of a memory. All the memories would be playing at the same time (at different volumes depending on the mood of the memory) and have a physical and spacial relationship to one another. This is fitting for the understanding of time as a fourth dimension. The participant would have to move around creating their own path/story, constantly relating what they hear to what they have experienced in their own lives. I believe that we all play alternating archetypes through out our lives, thus we can relate in some way to any story.