Strangely Familiar. Lecture 3: Art, Design and Evocation. Memory Making Memory and Material Culture. “Memory” is commonly envisaged as both the facility to remember and as the mental representation of that which is remembered. Memory Making Memory and Material Culture.
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Art, Design and Evocation
Memory and Material Culture
“Memory” is commonly envisaged as both the facility to remember and as the mental representation of that which is remembered.
Memory and Material Culture
In contemporary Western societies, ‘memories’ are often conceived as possessions: we ‘keep’ and ‘preserve’ our memories almost as though they are objects in a personal museum
One of Each on Shelves
La Visit Guidee
(the bucket 1994)
Object Holder Curtain
The Physical Past
Objects serve memory in 3 ways:
They furnish recollection; constitute a picture of the past
They stimulate remembering
They form records, storing information beyond individual experience
A La Recherche du Temps Perdu
The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm, beyond the reach of intellect, in some material object (in the sensation which that material object will give us) of which we have no inkling. And it depends on chance whether or not we come upon this object before we ourselves must die.
Photographs belong to that class of objects formed specifically to remember, rather than being objects around which remembrance accrues through contextual association
Photographs express a desire for memory and the act of keeping a photograph is, like other souvenirs, an act of faith in the future. They are made to hold the fleeting, to still time, to create memory
Broken English August ‘91, 1997
Clothes relate to our feeling more than perhaps any other designed artifacts, and thus require ‘subjective’ as well as ‘objective’ analysis … clothes, their smell and texture, remind the spectator of past presence of the person to whom they belonged, their inhabiting them, a moment when they wore them. The garment becomes imbued with the essence of the person.
Christian Boltanski (1944-)
What they have in common is that they are simultaneously presence and absence.
They are both an object and a souvenir
[or memory] of a subject
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam, 1997
Products acquire meaning with the passing of time, through use. However developments proceed so rapidly that many objects for use have no chance to acquire real meaning. Products should really be granted a longer useful life.
Rag Chair, 1991
Collection Droog Design
Wallpaper Peepshow 1992
Kokon Series 1997-99
Broken Family Service 1999
I always use second-hand things because there is a history to them …I once got a load of second-hand bedding from the Salvation Army and it was sweat and urine stained. All things I was trying to use … The smell of people, just everyday living …
I was trying to make a space that I was very familiar with and that a lot of people would be familiar with. And I have a very clear image of, as a child, sitting at the bottom of of my parents’ wardrobe, hiding among the shoes and clothes, and the smell and the blackness and the little chinks of light, and I was really trying to illustrate that … I was trying to make that space solid.
Paul Hessels Droog Design
Power tiles 1995
Detail from Untitled (Upstairs) 2001
You Can’t Lay Down Your Memories
Figuring the Everyday
To launch an investigation into the theoretical practices of those who attend to everyday life requires attention to everyday life itself.
Imagine the Green is Red, 1997
I cast the urinal before them as a challenge and now they admire it because of its aesthetic beauty.
At last that ‘wretched urinal’ existed in ‘real’ art materials … !
Sherrie Levine - Fountain 1991
Why should the study of the banal itself be banal? … Why wouldn’t the concept of everydayness reveal the extraordinary in the ordinary?
Many writers, most notably Marcel Proust, have written about the ways in which time and memory are encoded in our perception of everyday things.
Come to the seminar with an example of work from a contemporary artist or designer, which explores the idea of memory and ‘the familiar’ using everyday objects.
Reflect on the 3 lecture themes and weekly readings.
Come to the workshop prepared to discuss your ideas for your essay. What sort of ‘question’ might you ask of The Everyday …