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, and has already become a book project.
NOTE: Click on the image below to open a more pleasing larger image.