Remembering What is Lost: Digital Immersion for Memory and Commemoration

Project Details


This project involved two miniature installations: Remember Me (RM), for an audience-of-one, and Lost Morecambe (LM), for an audience-of-four. Both consisted of an opened upright suitcase (RM), or trunk (LM) containing dioramas (RM, a WW1 trench; LM, a theatre auditorium) and small screens receiving short projected animations of vintage photography. Soundtracks, delivered by headphones, created an immersivity. LM was commissioned by Morecambe Variety Festival and funded by ACE, after its commissioner experienced RM.

Both installations investigated human and architectural identity and its loss, memory, and commemoration. They defamiliarised and interrogated photographs as sites of memory, documentation, and stillness. As their owners die, WW1 photographs change from sentimentally valuable items depicting known people, to collectible and valuable objects of unknown subjects – they become a new kind of missing in action: by animating them with a brief uncanny re-existence, RM sought to reverse this and re-subjectify soldiers. In LM, the dilapidated Winter Gardens hosting the installation were depicted in their heyday, creating an uncanny postmodern mise-en-abyme effect noted by many visitors. Audiences for both commented on being transported to other worlds in short spaces of time.

Both investigated and interrogated:
· performative experience that reinvests objects with new significance;
· shifts between ‘object-ness’ and ‘subject-ness’;
· photographs as documentary repositories of potential sensation and memory.

In addition, RM asked:
· how those without identity might be remembered by those without direct memory of them?

LM investigated:
· Nostalgia and performative experience changing experiences of site.

RM exhibited: Chester Military Museum; Narberth Museum; Ansdell Library; Bluecoat, Liverpool; TaPRA, Salford; University of Chester; (where conference papers were also delivered). LM exhibited: Morecambe Winter Gardens; Pound Arts, Corsham. A keynote address was delivered at the Narrative Conference, Chester (2017). A chapter in Pinchbeck and Westerside (2018) constitutes complementary writing.

Layman's description

Two miniature installations for small audiences, with projected images and sound via headphones, both depicting animated vintage photography.

Key findings

practice-research: embodied findings
Short titleRemembering What is Lost
Effective start/end date1/01/15 → …