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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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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

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

Karsten Bott

Personal Museums

One of Each on Shelves


Sophie Calle

Personal Museums

La Visit Guidee

(the bucket 1994)

Olivier Peyricot

Personal Museums

Object Holder Curtain


Material Memories

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

Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

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 as Objects of Memory

Photographs belong to that class of objects formed specifically to remember, rather than being objects around which remembrance accrues through contextual association

Photographs as Objects of Memory

Anya Gallaccio

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

Clothing as Objects of Memory

Juliet Ash

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.

Clothing as Objects of Memory

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

Canada, 1988

Clothing as Objects of Memory

Martin Margiela

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam, 1997

Clothing as Objects of Memory

Tejo Remy

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

Gijs Bakker

Strangely Familiar

Wallpaper Peepshow 1992

Jurgen Bey

Strangely Familiar

Kokon Series 1997-99

Jurgen bey

Jurgen Bey

Broken Family Service 1999

Rachel Whiteread(1963-)

Strangely Familiar

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 …

Rachel Whiteread(1963-)

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.

Closet, 1988

Rachel Whiteread

Paul Hessels Droog Design

Power tiles 1995

Detail from Untitled (Upstairs) 2001

Tejo Remy

You Can’t Lay Down Your Memories


Ben Highmore

Figuring the Everyday

To launch an investigation into the theoretical practices of those who attend to everyday life requires attention to everyday life itself.

David Shrigley

Imagine the Green is Red, 1997

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)

The Ready-made

I cast the urinal before them as a challenge and now they admire it because of its aesthetic beauty.

Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)

The Ready-made

At last that ‘wretched urinal’ existed in ‘real’ art materials … !

Sherrie Levine - Fountain 1991

Henri lefebvre 1901 1991

Henri Lefebvre (1901-1991)

Why should the study of the banal itself be banal? … Why wouldn’t the concept of everydayness reveal the extraordinary in the ordinary?

Stage 2 Seminar Tomorrow:


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.

Stage 3 Workshop Thursday:


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 …