Nostalgia: the duality of memory and place.
“A cinematic image of nostalgia is a double exposure, or a superimposition of two images—of home and abroad, of past and present, of dream and everyday life. The moment we try to force it into a single image, it breaks the frame or burns the surface.” – Svetlana Boym
Observe an exploration of personal history through examination of archival family video footage. This documentation has been navigated with consciousness of nostalgia and a longing for home; a passage that requires consideration of the interrelation between personal development and geographical background, the dual functions of memory, place and the impact of nostalgia upon these.
Everyone has an independent understanding of home, along with an individual experience of nostalgia. For those such as myself, spending an extended period away from home causes discomfort; a strong sense of homesickness. The term nostalgia originated in the late 18th century as a term for ‘acute homesickness’, which over time has evolved to mean “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past”. A yearning for both place and past have entwined together to bring forth a point in my life where reflection on family history has become increasingly important. Re-contextualising my family archive has created a reflective compilation whilst acting as a mode of contemplation.
Place is an integral part of personal and family narrative. Tam O’Shanter Bay has been the axis of my existence and has provided a strong generational connection that has developed into a personal attachment to site. The need for reflection on the past (that is literally sited in a place) is partially prompted by the recent loss of my mother. Joachim Froese’s project ‘Portrait of My Mother’ (2006), acted as a record of his terminally ill mother’s dying process and a metaphor of her life. Froese’s method of mourning and remembrance encouraged me to reflect upon my own mother’s death. Although the footage of her is minimal, the whole essence of her being is engrained into my childhood and our home.
Nostalgia is at once a longing for place and a yearning for a different time. In turn, the psychological associations and distinctive materiality of the VHS medium convey this yearning. The act of viewing multiple tracks at once emulates the constant stream of memories that take place when reminiscing upon childhood while simultaneously communicating personal history concisely. What holds true is the thread of place through living memory and family archives, an active understanding of home.
An interview regarding this piece of work can be viewed here.