What I'm Doing At University

For more than two years I have researching and monumentalising certain memorials, sites, objects and place because they are not ordinary or everyday. They are set apart. They contain some kind of special occasion to them. Or they contain some kind of distinct sentiment. They exist in places or are places to go to, to remember things, either very recent or deeply historical things. The march of time will see that everything becomes distant eventually. They are reminders of things related to you, a close family member like a mother or father or someone you’ve never met some ancient relative that shares your DNA. They are often outside of a direct line of connection like ancestry. They may simply hold a place in your awareness that brings you a deep feeling of connection.

They are also places that stand in our place when we are too busy, distracted or consumed by working or making love or putting out the rubbish that we don’t remember everyday, all the time, the things we know are important. The things if we took a moment, if we had the time, would bring us back to a very specific moment. I can be brought to tears or laughter on any given day.

They are built or erected through hard work or ritual, by a community or an individual. Whatever and who ever made the memorial, they are also there, even if I am not the audience, assembly, family or person that the memory marker is made for, they still say, often silently and on the wind, “remember”. These sites and traces of memory are also quietening grounds; they are locations where calm descends. For no other reason than that they are set apart from your everyday life and that the writing, there is often an inscription, requires something of you.

And so when we come back to these monumental objects, artworks or buildings we are once again confronted by memory. I would not take the liberty to describe which memory or how this memory is played out. The artist’s job is not to tell people how to feel but just to feel, not how to remember but just to remember. These memorials also tell us that it is ok to forget a little bit. To lose track of the date and time of the event. That I might feel like the world is a fluid, transient medium through which I am propelled is counteracted when I observe a monumental object. It very materials, often made of stronger stuff than myself reminds me that life might actually be quite solid at least the physical world which, for 99.9% of the time before my death, I occupy. Because someone, or a group of people, has recorded important details it is acceptable for them to get a little bit fuzzy in our memories.

What I am not going to do during this research is try and explain to you why people have recorded and memorialised certain things over other things. The only meagre offering I have to come to terms with why some memorials and not others is that memory is often emotional. Seldom is a memory clinical and removed from the person or peoples marking it in memoriam.