Decasia: Frailty of Memory – a simulation of the frailty of memory in which appropriated frames of decaying film stock are combined with familiar images in a dissonant melange of the familiar and the confused.
This installation is a simulation of the frailty of memory and the confusion related to aging changes such as dementia. The work is informed by the practice of cinematographer Bill Morrison and his cinematographic creations using decaying nitrate film stock rescued from the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London.
Morrisons’ use of decaying nitrate film provides the perfect metaphor for failing memory, the juxtaposed elements of decay and imagery results in a surreal simulation of a decaying memory. The effect is serendipitous the result tantalising, we are all familiar with the frustration of trying to recall or complete a memory we may be able to translate Morrison’s imagery as an emulation of how a person with dementia or failing memory struggles to recall memories, the fleeting vivid moment in a sea of confusion and distortion.
I have appropriated frames from Morrisons’ film “Light is Calling” which show only abstract visualisation of decay and reworked them by blending in images from the family photograph album endeavouring to emulate the process of decay and the related frailty and confusion of memory.
The video is constructed to give an initial sensation of remembering, the viewer is struggles to reconstruct familiar memories from the noise and confusion of the mind as the memories melt into the background only to reappear in a different form the emerging image reacting with the background to create an element of indeterminacy in a tantalising and frustrating tangle as the memory is reconstructed.
The imagery is accompanied by extracts from the sound track of Morrisons short film Light is Calling the sound track was composed by Michael Gordon. In this installation it is hoped that the viewer will recognise almost inevitable prospect of failing memory whilst being prompted to recall their own memories visually and aurally.
Medium: Video constructed from appropriated film stills and digitised photographs, with sound.
Note: the title Decasia is appropriated from Bill Morrison’s full length feature film of the same name.