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¬ work / andalusian memories#2






¬ a n d a l u s i a n  m e m o r i e s


in how far is memory a definition of oneself, & in this respect, is it created anew or rather fixed in the unconscious? memory triggered or held by an artefact, foto or smell is a memory that is safely framed in the past.
memory is unreliable, we can never tell in how far it is invented. it also is not experienced in a linear way, rather like images in a random sequence, closer to what we call a dream. the exclamation of death is what I would call a second grade memory: the factual contents were being told to me by my grandmother. these memories are not fixed, though, as I could refer back to them, when I read my grandfather’s letters from the eastern front last summer. “what was it like during the war?” was my inevitable question when I was a young boy, my grandmother sitting in front of her beloved tv. I remember her reluctance, & she always told the same story. yet I was patient, & every now & then a new aspect came to light. the older I became, the more information I was given. I must say though, that even when I was really young I had a notion of relativity in my thoughts: I knew, it was HER memory, HER history & not anyone else’s. & it was only what she kept in her mind, what she consciously selected or not, that what she was telling me was merely an excerpt of the whole picture. she never talked of my grandfather a lot, because these memories were either a private matter or were being excluded from her life in order to make the loss more bearable.
truth, illusion, selection.
distance, individual experience, history.
results: fragmented, blurred, convenient.
these are the notions which are re/presented in andalusian memories.

framed deterioration

historic photography and films show selected frames & images in order to document what happened in a certain location at a certain time. the boundary towards fiction is blurred, as documentaries are used for propaganda or showing specific circumstances from a distinct angle. in this respect they share notions of memory as described above, in recontextualizing aspects of “reality”. displayed images are always selected, they can never stand alone for what they are.
I filmed found footage from a monitor, selecting only a part of the original image. the images were distributed over two thirty minute s-vhs tapes which share an ongoing theme: the opening scene of the andalusian dog by salvatore dali in which an eye of a rather pretty woman is sliced with the blade of a scalpell. this scene frames the other scenes in between, which mostly deal with destruction (the burning hindenburg zeppelin, war scenes, conflict & entropy). these scenes were chosen in order to reflect the sickness of the times my memories are referring back to. unlike war documentaries, which pretend to capture the whole scene, here, only parts of the original frames were filmed degraded & blurred in close up shots, fast forwards & zoom outs. the images themselves become destructed; in this way the form reflects their content, although not explicitely visible at all times. as a rule i did not allow myself to reedit captured footage, because what is done is done, just like in real life. memory has to deal with the consequences, if one likes them or not. film & memory share a constructed notion of the “real”, i.e. a frame locates the moment.

the presentation itself was to show three frames of projected material: here it is important to point out the importance of layering & superimposing the images, so that the existent patterns can interfere with each other & subsequently link up chunks of information. the third frame was planned to be supplied by a life-camera which captures parts of the pre-videoed ones.

a film or video shows animated images in a linear way, but, as we have seen, this is not the way memory works. hence the films were stopped at crucial moments which shows an inherent aesthetic of film: the freeze-frame or still. i find it amazing how a film frame gains momentum by being stopped. also, in terms of narration, a focussing takes place, the freeze-frame becomes a kind of land-mark, an image, that can be remembered.


most importantly the footage used in andalusian memories is processed: video as a medium degrades the quality of the frames, enhances colours or adds them to blach & white frames, although this is not meant to be this way. this feature is beyond the control of the film-maker or artist & can be exploited as the message of the form, the materiality, the mediation process.
it was an important thing to film directly off a television screen, the conventional way to display video. the screen adds lines to the image, this in itself shows mediation & makes us aware of the unreliable “truth” of the images shown. they are literally lifted off their original context.
additionally the final frames show only a part of the original in order to enhance a notion of closure which is what we do not see, but assume there is. blurred & censored vision has to be corrected by applying fantasy, rewriting the film as it is shown with the result that (presumably) no viewer sees exactly the same version, especially as the eye flicks from one chosen frame to the other, the flow of images being interrupted by stills & fast forwards. this is a selective activity which was also exercised by me in deciding where to stop the films; also the sped up scenes quite nicely represents how we skip or speed up scenes in our memories because they are unpleasant or intolerable..

~~three frames out of sync always held absent from the extreme precision of abrupt ruptures. sound restores the meaning, intimate as on a freeze. secret friction between the most tenuous events, action beyond the frame, transit, traversed as in a poem, heading through the threat struck with the spatial aesthetics of memory, becoming unreliable remains turned inside out.
the hidden origin and end: long ago or still to come, old images that are broken, people in slow motion marching in an unknown place, of faces and bodies placed in history between a strong life and a slow death that would come without their remembering anything.
it was perhaps inevitable, others seem to indicate but not define us as more or less appropriate pawns in a game of chess.~~

(original text in italics by C.Akerman:Bordering of Fiction Walker Art Centre 95, cut up, scanned & edited).



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and. mem.