Remembrance of Things Past


My family’s 8mm family films c1940 mined for the Memoire Involontaire project were created many years before I was born. Through the gaze of the filmmaker, a first cousin of my mother. I was able to see both recognizable and unknown adults interacting with each other and children in ways both concerning and familiar. For example, first in slow motion, then in frame-by-frame playback I see nail-polished fingers supporting a bare-chested infant next to a girl in blue shorts, bringing to my mind a picture of me sitting on a blue couch, age 4, watching a console television set next to a man - the filmmaker himself. In his novel ‘Remembrance of Things Past’, also called ‘In Search of Lost Time’, Marcel Proust called this recognition of the past in the present moment Memoire Involontaire. In the Memoire Involontaire project, designed in three phases, I enhanced and significantly enlarged still frames representing small, degraded memory fragments, and in so doing, tangibly interacted with time and personal history.

I. This Was Now (2012-2019) Beginning in 2012, 56 still frames were selected from 1-hour B&W and 1-hour color film. The stillframes were enhanced and enlarged approximately 10,000% with digital painting and algorithms from their original .14” x .21” dimension to 15” x 21”. This Was Now references the film frame stilled in isolation and tinged with mortality, a signal of death [Barthes] and the ghostly uncanny [Freud]. The stillframe also references the pre-history of cinema in photography. Each archival print in this series comprises a Limited Edition Set of 5 + 2 AP.

II. In Situ (2016) considers the actual film viewing experience and the uncanny in its general, and the specter of death and spirits and the recognition of my towering phantoms in particular. Beginning in the early 1950s motion picture films could be viewed on the television set, a living room furniture console. The 8 ‘In Situ’ Memoire Involontaire images were created by projecting an enhanced still frame in the artist’s studio comprising antique furnishings including an original 1950 RCA TV. The artist sits facing the console TV screen in which a second stillframe is composited. Each 12.6” x 19” archival pigment print comprises a Limited Edition Set of 10 + 2 AP.

III. Post-Cinema (2019) comprises variations of Phase I images generated with algorithms. Generative algorithms redesign the still frames incorporating randomness, mimicking Proust's seemingly random psychological associations in 'Memoire Involuntaire', and similarly, the maintenance and continual re-integration of memory with present experience by neural pathways in the brain. One algorithm scans and sorts each pixel in enhanced still frames into rows according to hue, saturation, brightness, or grayscale values. This image is then blended with the digitally-painted still frame. (Series of 20 16.5” x 16.5”) Archival Pigment Prints each in limited edition set of 5 + 2 AP. A second algorithm manipulates exported film clips by selecting film frames in predetermined intervals to arrange them sequentially in a grid pattern to represent the time passage in moving images as a still composition. This is a series of 10 Archival Pigment Prints of varying sizes.