Six years ago a large 5TB RAID backup drive died. I mounted a costly “recovery” project and amidst the work that was rescued—in addition to an astounding amount of replicated files—were an extraordinary number of glitch files. At the time, not all of these messed up files would open. The corruption was a bit of a mystery. I let them sit for several years. Recently, while hacking around in a nostalgic mood, I managed to get some of them into Photoshop. This is now all messed up history and inspiration for a new series called Misremember. Everything here was accidental. No Photoshop work was done other than a crop to square, some small levelling adjustments and the removal of dust particles.
Over a period of months I’ve thought about these accidental computer glitches and the word misremember. I’ve worked on a more structured conversation around these accidental files being a machine equivalent to human memory flaws. Part of this stems from conversations with my brother over the years, in which we remembered our shared history in completely different ways from each other. He seems to embellish and makes everything more interesting with expanded narratives where as I tend to tamp things down and distill them to more matter of fact occurrences. I don’t have any idea who’s memory is more accurate. The truth is probably closer to an amalgam of both our stories.
My mother also suffered from dementia in the last years of her life. I’m sure I’ll follow in her footsteps and I’ve already6 begun to misremember. These images foreshadow those inevitable events. They no longer depict what actually was, but are beautiful in their own way. They are now a different, manufactured memory.
Extrapolating from these ideas I wonder who can be an honest historian? On a grand, global scale, or from myriad personal perspectives is all history doomed doomed to inaccuracy? In some way don’t we all misremember somehow, doesn’t everyone make it up after a while? We each create history our own based on our personalities, prejudices and situations. I imagine we try to protect our own self-image and in so doing create false narratives to achieve this.
The images below are all photographs that I would never have printed, but the intervention of unplanned errors have created new stories that I feel are more interesting and now compelling. These images that were once more or less forgotten, have become engaging in their new misremembered state.
Misremember – will be a planned site specific show, or a book project in the future.
NOTE: Click on the image below to open a more pleasing larger image.
Misremember – Installation Rough(s)
The simplest plan and most cost effective would be to mount app 50 x 1ft square prints on dibond and then somehow suspend these –using either fishing line or airplane cable –from the ceiling of a gallery space in random pattern and at different height levels so that they moved when people walked through them but all were around average head height. Think of the 50 pieces as forming a cloud like structure in the gallery that the audience could enter into.
Completely cover the existing gallery hardwood floor in a layer of 3/4” tongue and groove plywood
Into the “new” plywood floor affix 30 to 40 x 1/2 in. threaded metal rods in a planned but somewhat haphazard way, but making sure each rod is relatively equidistant from its neighbor. Rods will be between 45 and 65 inches in height to accommodate the various “eye levels” of the audience (adults and children).
At this point the gallery will look like some thinning, unearthly, metal forest or construction site.
Into each rod end, screw a bracket or clamp that will hold a standard 12” x 12” framed photograph. These brackets should allow the framed works to swivel on the rods so each piece could be re-ranged by the viewer or by the artist on a daily basis. They should also allow the framed works to be “seated” onto them without damaging or altering the framed work. Framed works can be easily removed and re-arranged
Each framed photograph will be finished on the reverse with white foam core or thick backing paper that will contain the title information for the individual print. If you were looking at all of these as they faced you the work becomes a large text based sculpture installation.
Regularly rotate the framed works, change the orientations and allow the audience to “turn” the framed photographs–but maybe give them white gloves so the glass doesn’t get all finger-printy.
Post Script – Each one-foot-square framed work could be “suspended” on a single airplane cable strung between the floor and the ceiling (figure 3). This would simplify and cut significant costs. The goal is to make the framed images float and create a sense of randomness by eliminating any sense of beginning of ending for the whole show.