Images do not have memory…

Liz Wells, Landscape Matters, loc 4615. “memory is a human faculty; it is one of the facilities we bring to the disentangling of images…. Photographs appear as images removed from the flow of time. But the affects of photographs, how they work on us as we respond to them, is less clear.”

Had it not been a bright sunny day I might not have spent the day inside printing, cutting and editing; as it is, the late sunlight streaming through the office window isn’t shedding light to the way forward, rather it is indicating how poorly the screen in front of me has been cleaned recently. I have realized that I am quite excited about Purgatory and I have several strands of investigation to work in. The quote from Wells’ book points to one possible thread, that of the invocation of memory. Memory is a complex issue; of course I have no memory of the place having been to it only a few times, though I have been on the track that leads to it many times. I consider though, at this distance, that the simplest and perhaps the least valuable means would be to create a work that invokes a memory of the place i.e. this place was a hard place in which to live and die. More interesting might be to develop a narrative that centres on the place, a sense of isolation, not necessarily its geographic remoteness which is real – no road, no services etc – but how it might reflect on the human condition, or perhaps more accurately my own.

I have no attachment to the ‘place’ that is Purgatory but I sense a real attraction to the ‘space’ that is Purgatory and it’s name is another layer that will need further investigation. I’m not sure how that might be developed; it is a distance to walk to the place and not without its visual attractions, and that distance will become, I think, part of the narrative or part of the context. Today in the absence of a softer light I have printed around ninety small prints from which I started to edit in a loose way. I have also made a dozen or more A3+ prints to see what they look like as prints. I have been scribbling down some notes about future forays to the ‘place’, about the journey.

I’m not confident enough to say that I am on my way with this project, but there are several signs that seem to indicate positive possibilities and I am now looking for inclemency in the skies to draw me back to the track.


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