Remember Me: a portable audio-visual installation in a suitcase for an audience of one.

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

Abstract

Remember Me is a miniature installation designed for an audience-of-one. The installation is a Practice-as-Research investigation of World War One commemoration, and the fragmentation of memory and identity, and features a number of small exhibits from World War 1, as well as digital animations of original photographs which are projected into screens in a suitcase. An accompanying soundtrack, specially created by sound artist Karen Lauke and delivered via headphones, creates immersivity, and the one-on-one audience experience is intimate yet powerful.

The work investigates identity, fragmentation of memory, and WWI commemoration, and defamiliarises and interrogates photographs as sites of memory, documentation, and stillness. The names of the people in the photographs used in Remember Me are now lost: the soldiers depicted have joined the ranks of a new kind of missing of World War I. Thus, Remember Me explores the shift in status of photographs from items depicting subjects to items as collectible and sometimes valuable objects. By giving those depicted a brief, uncanny re-existence, Remember Me seeks temporarily to reverse this shift and re-subjectify the forgotten men in the photographs.

The project investigates:

•How might those without identity be remembered by those without direct memory?
•How might commemoration be made an intimate and quasi-sacred experience?
•How might those depicted in valuable, collectible objects be re-subjectified and thus commemorated?

The work defamiliarises and interrogates photographs as documentation and sites of stillness, but in so doing, a transubstantiation occurs whereby photographic objects become subjects again. This brief, uncanny re-existence, foregrounds fading narratives and identities, and I claim that it is in this shift that something intangible and secularly sacred occurs.

The work has been privately exhibited and shown publically at ‘Being Human’, Bluecoat, Liverpool; St Mary’s Creative Centre, Chester; and Narberth Museum, South Wales, alongside the Welsh Book of Remembrance. Some viewers have experienced grief; others reconsider their own family histories and photography.

Comments in the guest book for Remember Me include:

'Stunning'
'... an incredible experience...'
'...beautiful treatment of old photographs...'
'...breathtaking...'
'The notion of an old photograph coming to life and becoming a real person is poignant...'
'Made me cry...'
'Beautifully fitting tribute to a lost generation.'
'A poignant look at those lives lost...'
'I experienced presence and loss, and memories that fade away.'
'Truly beautiful.'
'Moving, wonderful digital imagery.'
‘Moving, memorable, original.’
‘…a chance to lay them to rest in a sacred way…’

Remember Me has been exhibited: St Mary's Creative Space, Chester; Narberth Museum; Chester Military Museum; Being Human, Bluecoat, Liverpool; Andsell Library, Lythm St Annes; Festival of Ideas, Ormskirk; TaPRA C onference, Salford.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • commemoration
  • WWI
  • war
  • installation
  • animation
  • photography
  • remembrance

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