A few weeks ago, we went to Flux Realities at the Art Science Museum at Marina Bay. For me, the images that stood out were Wang Ningde's Some Days.
"From the beginning, I was interested in the issue of time. There are three possibilities with these images: it could be something that happened, something that was recreated, or something that was completely imagined. But suppose these were events that happened in 1975, is it possible to recreate all the details? Can you get the exact flower that was there, or have the sun shining exactly where it was? It's not possible; so perhaps it's just the essence of a memory."
"I don't think I have simply copied the mnemonic moment. What I have done is to let it remain as it is. Let me give you another example. Your boyfriend and you had a dinner together ten years ago and someone snapped without anyone knowing it. Later on both of you split up so the memory of that night would be fading away. After ten years, you saw this picture all of a sudden. You found it wasn't that night in your mind. Memory is becoming interesting at this stage, which one is more worthy of being remembered? The true feeling of today or the night when thing was happening? Everyone must have his own view of it. To me, this ever changed today's memory has been closer to me since it is carried by time. And no matter what the change is good or not."
I liked the exhibition and the images which played in the space between the 'actual' moment, the memory of that moment and the images of that moment.
By chance, I have been rereading Shakespeare's Memory by Jorge Luis Borges which plays around with the notion of the self, the nature of the mind and what happens to the narrator after he has been gifted the memory of Shakespeare. Which brings me to a sonnet to be read in the light of Borges.
"When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many things I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste."
William Shakespeare, Sonnet XXX
Lewis Bush in an exhibition The Memory of History & on his blog also looks at the nature of memory. What he is attempting to show in his exhibition resonates with the work of Wang Ningde & Borges.
"Rather than attempt to select a single idea that seemed to definitively match my own vision of the past, I sought to integrate multiple competing and at times contradictory ideas into the texts that accompanied my photographs. The aim in doing so was to show history as a fragmentary, nebulous blurring of different ideas and processes. I wanted to show the past as something understood very differently by different people, and also to demonstrate how that understanding is affected by less commonly acknowledged factors like human psychology and the sheer randomness of the universe."
And so in closing on this Saturday, 27 September 2014, I watch the AFL grand final and remember as a teenager watching men in tight shorts and mullets kick a small rugby ball around a large paddock. My memories of that time are not accurate but they demonstrate the aspects of that experience that remain important to me now. In years to come I will remember this Saturday when I wrote in this blog, ranted on social media, wore a green spinach t-shirt and facetimed with a 4 year old in her mother's office in Jakarta.
There will be details of this Saturday I will remember, and things that never happened, but I think happened, and those memories will be the ones with the most meaning entering like cuckoos and staying wherever they wish.