IMPERMANENCE OF MEMORY
IMPERMANENCE OF MEMORY
By Toni Butterworth
This body of work began with a fascination of how memory is formed and retrieved in our minds. I began to find that there were many gaps and inconsistencies in my memories – when reflecting on memories of my childhood, different moments and people began to intertwine and overlap with one another.
The installation I created acts as a representation, and immersive experience, of my mind attempting to piece together my memories of childhood. Using light, projection, and photographs of real elements of my life from many years ago, the space allows the viewer to attempt to piece together the various shards and scraps. As with all memories, the whole picture that these various pieces make up is questionable and unresolved.
I created this Nostalgia Room which represents a space in my mind where I go to connect with my memories. I come here looking for peace but every time I enter this room it brings about a wave of happiness that lasts just a little while before the sadness hits – all the faces that I don’t get to see anymore, all the memories that seem so broken I can hardly piece them together, and all the smiles that don’t feel the same anymore. These memories have become mere snapshots collected over the years, some holding fragments of memories that I refuse to let disintegrate into nothing.
All elements within this room are real objects of my past that hold a strong sense of home, family, and nostalgia.
The Projection Room is occupied by a standing structure filled with some personal photographs from my childhood. These photographs grasp both memories of experiences and physical elements of my past such as my childhood bedroom. This bedroom, and the living room of my grandparents’ house are the stages in my mind where many of my memories perform. Objects from these two rooms fill the Nostalgia Room.
These photographs that fill the structure are projected onto the wall behind by an old film projector allowing viewers to walk around and experience the photographs in a different way.
This space is in an old building on the outskirt of my hometown, Grahamstown/Makhanda. It is almost in ruins but still in use which speaks to how memories can be fragmented and broken yet those pieces are still there just not in the way that they used to be. By walking through this space, one is entering my mind and looking into my room of memories of which I hold so close to my heart.