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Memory's Image


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Frost, RE 2003 , 'Memory's Image', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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How can the process of memory be represented in visual terms? This
project investigated the nature of autobiographical or recollective memoryusing
photographically derived, computer environments as a visual art form;
and is based on some of the wealth of material written about 'memory' or
'memories' and recollection. My aim was to consider this material and use it
as a basis for generating work that visually explored the attributes of
memory; that evoked the sensation of remembering one's past and, in
particular, memories of childhood.
In researching the experience of recollective memory I identified the
memory image as pivotal. In brief, I proposed that central to the experience
of remembering is the occurrence of a memory image. But when people
say, 'I remember,' what are they actually seeing? Is there a visual language
of memory that is shared by us all? How might we see memory in our
mind's eye? Secondly, what is the nature of this encounter? Could this
experience be described as interactive? Would some form of interactivity be
a useful addition to the work?
In considering the issue of interactivity as a viable option for the experience
of remembering, I was to find firstly, that the process is primarily reactive whether
undertaken voluntarily or involuntarily - a cue provokes and we
react Secondly, the interactive element I had questioned was vastly
different to that which I had originally conceived. Instead of a trigger for
an image it was an engagement with the image. Rather than being the cause
of an action, the interactivity comes as we embroider and place it in a
context We weave the fragments together to tell a story.
Interestingly, as I reviewed the visual characteristics of the memory image I
found no clear demarcation. It appeared to be highly subjective, with
comments ranging from unclear, little or no color and hazy, to highly
detailed and vivid. In a similar manner the size and position of the image in
space varied. The most important element for me was the notion of these
images as small fragments of experience rather then complete episodes in
themselves. In resolving how to evoke an experience of remembering, my work shifted
from a screen-based CD-ROM style presentation to video installation. I
moved from the use of still photographs to the utilization of full screen
digital video as I struggled to represent the memory image in a dynamic
rather than static form - as remnants of lived experience rather than frozen
instances of time. The thesis exhibition presents the viewer with these
fragments. Interaction is present less in the triggering of the memory than
in the associations - in the narrative that is constructed and woven from
remnants. Although the imagery does, at times, reference glimpses from my
own childhood, I have also been concerned to evoke a more generic
representation of the memory image.
It is my hope that this project will contribute to an understanding of the
visual nature of the memory image and its role in the experience of

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Frost, RE
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