Displacement, Loss, History, Culture, Memory

What is the question or issue?

Investigate the analogies that can be found in the landscape that can reflect issues of collective and personal memory displacement and loss reflected in the surrounding environment.

  • Can the influence of man in the landscape be portrayed as an analogy for the social issue of displacement and loss on a personal level?
  • Can the effects of dereliction and abandonment in the landscape reflect the inner experience where memories become lost or faded over time?
  • Can changes in the landscape provide an analogy for changes in memory?
  • Can things such as location, smell, sound, objects help us to remember?


Who are the key artists/designers/writers or other creative individuals related to your project?

Initially I intend to reflect upon the artist Christian Boltanski. Areas of intest apparent in the work of Christian Boltanksi are Life, Death and Memory with much of his work focussing on the Holocaust and blurring the boundaries between fiction and truth. Initial Pieces of interest are La traversée de la vie (The Crossing of Life), 2015, Départ (Departure), 2015, Animitas (Blanc), 2017, Arrivée (Arrival), 2015 and La Bibliothèque des coeurs (The library of hearts). Parallels can be drawn between Boltanski and my previous work I intend to reflect upon. Boltanski produces work that documents historical events, he focuses on abandonment or past tragedies that bring awareness to the divide between human documentation and historical facts. These somewhat forgotten events help us to reflect on the present and becomes a method of unification for the audience, so that we can witness social change on a broader level.

I am interested in the artist Rachel Whiteread because of the way that her work elicits memory for the audience by casting the spaces around everyday objects she suggests the space that has existed around things. She explores not only memory but loss and remembrance too, remembering our history and noting the relevance that our history still has in our modern world. Her work brings about many references to our history (cultural, social, industrial and political) and helps us to understand this through our own perceptions and in relation to our place in our community. Particular pieces of interest are House, Ghost and Tree of Life.

Lesser known artists are Shona Illingworth, Debbie Smyth and Briony McDonaugh. Shona Illingworth and her piece Lesions in the Landscape which focusses on the artists own experience of amnesia and the comparison with the landscape of her homeland, St Kilda. Debbie Smyth, a textile artist known for her large scale 2D and 3D pieces using thread as a drawing medium.

Previous enquiry on the following artists will be reflected upon further: John Akomfrah, Lamia Joreige, Mona Hatoum, El Anatsui, Anselm Kiefer, Joseph Beuys and Louise Bourgeois.

What are the key ideas or developments that are central to your area of interest?

My aim is to continue with a previous line of enquiry into issues that relate to displacement. In reflecting further on the current work to date, I hope to delve deeper into the context of historical factual research and the human memories that become altered over time.

The need for a sense of belonging and identity is inherent in all of providing security in knowing who we are and where we came from. As we grow the landscape around us changes, our impression of such and our memories also become fuzzy and unclear. Significantly, massive change in an environment can be brought about through the influence of the governmental decisions of the time and parliamentary bills. In their wake landscapes are destroyed for the greater good and all that remains are clues that allude to the environment that once was. The way that we view and interpret the landscape and environment around us can provide us with a metaphor that represents our identity and the loss of associated memories through the passing of time and changes made in the name of progress. Our understanding of the history of the land that we inhabit also affects our interpretation of our environment.


How will you go about researching your question?

Digital Media is a constantly expanding industry sector that provides an effective method for visual communication and can be used to represent the experience of collective and personal memory and associated loss and displacement seen in the landscape through observation and recording. Observation and recording can show the beauty in what remains and the strength and courage to go on with our lives that exists in all of us in our human experience. Using Digital Media can also help to bring historical archive material into the awareness of the here and now. Archive material is often long lost and forgotten – yet it provides us with an important point of reference to reflect against in our current environment.

What means will you use – interviewing, visiting particular collections, processes or production for making.

Archival Research will be gathered utilizing a variety of methods. Initially, the internet will be used to identify exactly where statistical information that relates to historical events. I may also attempt to contact community groups of survivors in the hope that I may gather information on the human experience of such events and the essence of human memory at this point in time. I would hope also to gather some photographic material with the survivors that I potentially may use. I will also be to produce a Facebook page where I can begin to solicit responses from women on social media. The Facebook page will also form an ideal tool to share findings that occur during the lifetime of the project. Where possible I intend to visit sites of these historical events again in the hope of gathering further photographic and video evidence.


Are there any particular resources or equipment that you plan to use?

My hope is to experiment a lot throughout the duration of this course. I feel that as an artist at an early stage in my career, I have the opportunity to build on a more cohesive contextual artistic practice. My experimentation will extend to but is not limited to – modifying archive photographs with Photoshop and Premiere Pro, printing outcomes onto different fabrics for display, re-introducing stitch into my artistic practice – integrating methods with other artistic techniques.

Experimentation with photography, distortion, assemblage, fabric, stitch, found objects, video and sound is anticipated bringing together what I perceive to be the best of my previous work so that I can move forward with my technique and process.

I am also considering recording any visual findings using both a Polaroid and a modern digital camera. Using the polaroid camera will provide me with a means to produce a seemingly archival record of my findings. The material recorded with the digital camera will provide me with the means to harness modern technology to work with the imagery in a more up to date manner. Video will also be recorded and potentially this video material may be exhibited using projection.

How will you gain access to this equipment?

I already own a modern digital camera and a portable projector. I plan to purchase an original refurbished Polaroid camera from the Impossible Project. This organisation acquired the last Polaroid factory after cessation of production in 2008 and continue to produce Polaroid film and cameras.

A recent visit to the Liverpool Biennial has sparked an interest in ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) sound recording and I hope to experiment further in the area of sound. For recording and playback, I am currently investigating required technology and cost of purchase.

I intend to rent shop space locally on a short-term basis whenever I am ready to test work in an installation environment.

5 thoughts on “ Unit 1 Project Proposal – Draft 1 ”

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