Monday, October 12, 2009

building blocks

some preliminary brainstorming for the essay topics of my thesis, which will probably be titled, How To Remember:

1. “Aberrations and Apparitions”: ghosts, death of the photograph, death of painting, memory disorders, historic reproduction, forgetting/ for getting, forgery, punctum/studium (Roland Barthes), “Instant Relatives”, Rememory (Vonnegut?)/ Remember-me, Tacita Dean (Floh)

2. “The fog of maybe”: San Francisco weather, youth culture, migration, lonliness/alone-ness, atmosphere

3. “Proof we were there”: artists and artmaking, narcissism, portraiture, studio portraits, photograph taking, flea markets, estate sales, thrift stores, evidence, stains and wear, “as-is”, dust

4. “The warp and weft of words”: embroidery, dictionary definitions, quilting, “mussed”, eyewitness reports, fallibility of memory, poetry vs. prose, fiction v. nonfiction, love letters

5. “Who we are and where we came from”: grandparents, family identity, conflict of simultaneous truths, water, narcissism, domestic interiors, family secrets (things we shouldn’t talk about)

6. “How to remember a past/passed life”: memory, collection/preservation, botanical illustration, entomological displays, curiosity cabinets, Mark Dion, “Shrine of remembrance”, nostalgia, littleness

7. “Silent Cities”: earthquakes, invisibility of American ruins, cemetaries, story of Colma, names on tombstones (the names we had), Isabella and Arthur

8. “How to make a clock tick backwards”: directions, undirections, making and unmaking, Robert Smithson, and perhaps all of the things from “Silent Cities” (above)

9. “On metaphors”: shapes of time (Kubler), staircases, balloons, circles, waves, ven-diagrams, family trees, roots/branches

10. “Flashbulb memories”: memory vignettes, some true, some not, some mine, some other peoples

11. “The Here and Now”

12. “On longing”: loneliness v. alone-ness, being/longing/belonging, identity, mules, grayness, Cindy Sherman (this is me and this is me and this is me), holes v. wholes, research v. me-search, susan Stewart

13. “Seen and not heard”- family secrets, the backs of photographs, making, mystery, the unknown, scene/seen

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