Open Works Proposal – Annie McLoughlin

For my final project, I want to create a series of mixed media pieces surrounding the idea of memory. Memory is a personal, internal entity that we gather and store over time. However individual the process of collecting memories is, every single human being engages in this process.

Because memory is so intrinsically personal, I want to explore the idea of trying to unwrap or engage other people’s memories using stranger’s photos and developing artworks around these memories captured in time. A local thrift store near my apartment in Brooklyn has tables of hundreds of donated photographs, random and from ranging time periods, black and white, color, Polaroid, film strips, ect. I have recently been going to the thrift store and collecting a few photographs every now and then that resonate with me. Just the process and amount of time I spend choosing the photos and looking through them seems like some kind of sacred process. There is something eerie and delicate and almost invasive about having these stranger’s photographed memories, and I would like to use my final project to explore this idea of tapping into private memory.

Most of the photos I have collected so far are black and white portraits. Compositionally, the black and white seemed to embody a sense of age, printed on more fragile photo paper, the images worn and faded. I like the idea of having people as subjects in the photos, because I think it gives the memory more weight when a human face is attached to it, and the viewer can empathize with it. I want the photographs to be the starting point for my series, in which I want to use pen, ink, paint, collage, and incorporate text to surround the images, culminating in a series of mixed media portraits.

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4 Comments

  1. John Roach · April 22, 2014 Reply

    Sounds like a good start.
    I would be mindful of the way that media can tell a story (your first Time of Day project is a good example of this). Look for successful mixed media examples that explore an idea through a variety of forms.
    I think you touch on some interesting points about how memory is constructed, how it is captured and ultimately how you as a voyeur, an “invader” re-interpret that memory and that trajectory of time.
    This is the crux. How to make this about TIME rather than memory. How does it become about the record and the archive as much as it is about longing, nostalgia, etc.

    Some interesting examples related to mixing media, but have a more painterly emphasis:
    Ida Applebroog
    Jim Shaw (mainly about dreams)
    Dottie Addie

    Seems like sketching sketching sketching will be important.
    Consider the way that you can use space to impact your idea.

  2. Annie · May 3, 2014 Reply

    Project Update:

    “Memory: Intrude and Interpret”

    My final project is an interactive installation surrounding the idea of memory.

    Memory is a personal, internal entity that we gather and store over time. However individual the process of collecting memories is, every single human being engages in this process.

    Because memory is so intrinsically personal, I want the viewers to have an experience where there own private memories are subject to unwrapping and engaging. It is through the intrusion and interpretation that private memory becomes shared time.

    Each viewer will walk into the room, lined with white paper and white balloons tacked to the wall. Under each balloon is a name tag in which the individual will stand in front of facing the balloon, facing the wall. Once everyone is in from of their balloon, everyone will close their eyes and I will begin to lead a guided visualization in which each person recalls a memory from their past. Throughout the spoken visualization, I will walk around the room and pop each persons balloon at random.

    Once Everyone’s balloon is popped, everyone will open their eyes to see what is left behind their popped balloon- a photograph of them. The photographs will be collected at random using public social media sites. As instructed, the viewers will remain silent as they process seeing themselves behind the balloon. Everyone will the rotate one space to their right, moving away from their own memory, and onto another’s. Each person will be given 2 minutes to interpret this photograph through whatever outlet they choose. They could draw an illustration, make up a narrative about the photo, identify the people in the photograph, make up the date and time the photo was taken. After everyone completes this exercise, each person will move back to their original photograph, un-tack the paper from the wall, and gather in the center of the room for Q and A.

    My intended learning outcomes for this project are to explore the idea of private time versus shared time, using memory as the main vehicle of examination. The interactive component of the piece is used to heighten this reaction to the actual intrusion and interpretation of memory. There is something eerie, delicate, and invasive about having these photographed memories, and this final project explores the many emotions like shock, curiosity, discomfort, and understanding that come with interacting with these components in a live setting. The idea of the balloon popping and the shock it creates with its sounds represents the intrusion into each individual’s private memory bank. The artwork moves from private to shared when people rotate spaces and begin to interpret someone else’s’ photograph.

  3. John Roach · May 4, 2014 Reply

    very interesting idea.
    This thought: “It is through the intrusion and interpretation that private memory becomes shared time” is a great start and also a real balancing act. You are constructing a moment to RECONSTRUCT experience. It is worth noting that people will no-doubt respond to this construct in different ways. Maybe one person responds through the balloon as a memory object connecting them to an actual event, while another might connect the shock of the balloon popping to a memory, while another may connect it more to a present awareness of PLACE.

    It is worth noting that the first balloon popped will be quite different than all those that follow which is, in itself going to impact the awareness of time and anticipation.

    What do you intend for the video component of the piece? It doesn’t have to be a PART of the piece itself, but could round it out, give some context or background, etc.

  4. John Roach · May 4, 2014 Reply

    Definitely look at the work of Christian Bolitanski
    http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=649
    Ilya and Emilia Kabokov
    http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/magazine/articles/2014/ilya_emilia_kabakov
    also Face to Facebook for another perspective of “scraping” personal info from the web.
    http://www.face-to-facebook.net/index.php

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