Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Memories...of the days that were

Okay. New project. This one's going to be good. I asked Michael the librarian if I can borrow the old typewriter station that they used to use for card cataloguing at the CCA library and he said yes. I'm going to set it up in my studio and everyday I'm going to type personal memories on cards, one on each, all beginning with the word "Once..."

For example, "Once in 5th grade I was so angry at Will that I wrote a letter to Santa Claus asking him to make Will get sucked back into my mom's vagina and to be born out again as a different person. I had just learned about that particular female part from the archaic nurse at our elementary school. My mother was upset and insulted about me equating her vagina to a vacuum/garbage dump and I was upset and insulted that she had read my letter, seeing as how I written it in confidentiality to someone else."

I think the way I think about memories is in the same pursuit of order a librarian might feel, and I think that this could be an interesting way to start 'making sense' of my version of the truth, especially once I start cross-listing and cross referencing memories into multiple categories. I'll be at home for Christmas (I hope I hope!) and would like to get my parents and brothers involved with the project too.

Michael the librarian told me that they used to organize the card catalogue frequently and that it was one of the more laborious and painstaking tasks to work on. When new books were added to the collection, their corresponding cards would temporarily be filed 'above the bar' (meaning above the rod that holds the cards in the drawer). Eventually someone would take the drawers apart and thread the cards into order, making their place in the card catalogue fixed and official.

I've been thinking about new ways to start recording memories/ideas more quickly and succinctly. I like that my drawings take a long time to render, but have anxiety over the fact that if I concentrate on one drawing it is potentially at the sacrifice of many others. I don't want my version of history to be revisionist and exclusive, so I've been troubleshooting as to how to make the art more about the process of memory rather than focusing on making visual representations of singular moments and ideas. This could be a project that I work on continuously or come back to periodically until I'm so wizened and old that I have to start reading the cards to remember what the project is about. So romantic!

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