With Halbwachs’s theories on ‘collective memory’ as a basis, and the narrative of leaving home to pursue a new future, I wanted to create a very personal and poignant video, delving into themes of loss, moving away, death, nostalgia, reminiscing and time. Whilst first and foremost being a video about my family and myself personally, the inclusion of the text poem/sentences is broad enough so that this video speaks to many people and is relevant to their lives also.
The piece is very sombre which fits the intended mood and themes but by the end still remains somewhat hopeful or bittersweet. This was intended as the artefact, whilst for the majority is focussed on the past, the underlying message is to look to the future, which unlike the past, is not written. The future is constructed by we who are living it, and so this is why the conclusion is very open-ended as life itself is uncertain.
Audience engagement was at the main focus of the piece. Because the piece was very personal to me as an individual, it was necessary to try to enable the viewer to recollect similar memories they may have experienced in the past. This brings up Paul Connerton’s theory on ‘social memory’, in that “We situate what we recollect within the mental spaces provided by the group.” (Connerton, 1989: 37) By appealing to a larger audience through ‘collective memory’ and ‘social memory’, it means that more people can have an emotional response to it, as opposed to being a very singular and alienating artefact. In this way, the individual viewer applies the emotion themselves and the artefact merely serves as the catalyst for this.
One of the aspects of the video I do not think perhaps worked well were the inclusion of the sentences that appeared alongside things. They put the video more in context, but I wondered if they were absent if the video would have had the same effect. Visual storytelling is, in my opinion, the most effective way of storytelling but the sentences may have taken away from this.
In conclusion, the memory artefact proved very emotional to make in terms of recalling many of the forgotten memories. The intention was to allow the viewer to apply their own memories to the context of the piece in order to bring about the meaning and emotions themselves. ‘Collective memory’ is entirely subjective which is an aspect of the theme of memory that was brought through.
Connerton, P. (1989) How societies remember. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.