Installation Art and Memory: A Practice-As-Research Exploration
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This practice-as-research project investigates how a piece of site-responsive Installation Art, titled Triple Point Dunnage (exhibited in Royal William Yard, June 2009), can be used to generate knowledge about memory work through experience of site. Working in dialogue with the ideas of Daniel C. Dennett, Lucy Lippard and Gaston Bachelard, I attempted to create a permeable and fluctuating creative setting for the memory work of participants. An approach that used site as a stimulant within a process which also incorporated theoretical themes. During the period of design and construction, I interacted with and recorded interviews with people who had a personal connection with the site or with an interest in how memory works. The final installation presented layers of spoken fragmented content in a dialectic relationship within the installation’s spatial construction. The responses of the installation’s visitors and participants were collated through a response book and interviews. These were analysed in order to discover to what extent, if at all, the properties I had developed and designed into the work had shaped the engagements of the participants. The multi-valented properties of the work generated an array of responses that suggested that the viewers had fashioned their experience by blending the fragmented stories of others with their own personal histories. This engagement resembles Dennett’s concept of “self-narrator” and resonates with Bachelard’s concept of the fusion of physical and psychological space and Lippard’s understanding of place. By exploring memory through site Triple Point Dunnage generated a sense of place that was a fusion of the participants’ responses to the external physical environment and their associative memories stimulated by the affective fragmented properties of the work.
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