As memory is re-called it is re-made. Neural pathways construct and chart their way through the vastness of the neural network like cartographers in a new (to them) land. The time taken is measurable and noticeable, at its fastest speeds of 180 miles per hour, or as slow as 2 miles per hour, slower than walking pace. The synaptic embrace by neurotransmitters that attend one another without actually touching has been defined, by Santiago Ramón y Cajal – the founder of modern neuroscience – as a “besos protoplásmicos”, a photoplasmic kiss. A discharge emanates at the collision of a “kiss”, something transfers between the two neurons, be it chemical or electrical – either is possible – and is the elemental component of memory. The synapse – from the Greek sunáptō to clasp – is the creation of the uncoupled union of two neurons in a memorial pathway buried in 100,000,000,000,000,000 neurons, amongst other synaptic events, to form a memory.
That intercourse between two neurons is plastic and occurs across an infinitesimal space called the synaptic cleft, the substance transferred at any junction varies enormously and shapes how the memory is reformed. As two neurons enjoin their form also transforms during their union, they may either temporarily increase in size or wither. The neurotransmitter discharge may also be large or small, like that feeling of touching but not touching, the electric charge between two bodies reacting with each other sub consciously.
The track of synpases may also proliferate or decay, meaning that memory will need to find a novel way to respond to the conscious desire of remembering. Or even the sub-conscious desire.
My submission for Assignment Two is here:
John Umney – student number 519133 Moving Image
The assignment two video is here:https://vimeo.com/280152823
Since our last tutorial (post Assignment One), I have spent a lot of time considering what are the expectations around this course, and of course my objectives.
At that tutorial you suggested that I consider this study phase as I would have if I was undergoing a Masters course, and I shall come back to that later, but I realised that for the course to work for me I would need to change my expectations. After completing the BA I had found myself missing ‘study’ – exploring a subject to find out better how I comprehended things about something. I have always relished this kind of challenge, however I have found it very difficult to overcome my reactions to the course material, to find ways to navigate the assignment descriptions to make work that both fits the course – in whatever way I could muster it – and which serves to continue my train of thought coming out of the BA.
My first thought for this assignment was to ‘make a film’. I found a script, re-wrote it from a single person narrative to a two-hander, rehearsed the players, set up the filming, learned a few new skills (at least experienced the level of learning needed to be more proficient at ‘making a film’). Filmed it, edited it and, pleased that it fitted my original ideas to a large extent, found that it was still largely following the assignment brief too strictly. The video can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/272938310– the password required is John276778.
I feel confident that I could carry on, developing the skill sets to make more and more proficient ‘films’. The video above deals with the notion of memory, but I found it shallow and un-subtle.
My reflections on this are, again, on the blog here: https://wordpress.com/view/umneymovingimage.wordpress.com. As might be seen, I was very close to discontinuing the course – I am not yet fully convinced I will carry on.
I went to a Family Ties event in early June called “The Transnational Family” after which I madeanother short video: https://vimeo.com/274230739 which veers much closer to how I saw my work developing.
After I had interviewed with the MA course leader at Birmingham I felt I wanted to work with my archive (I have thousands of pre-BA negatives, from colour family to MF monochrome) and I felt that they would allow me to continue my research into memory – my family archive was destroyed by my father, and whilst I know this is in my mind I want to try and disassociate that fact, both in the emotional sense and that I only have about ten photographs of me until I reached adulthood.
My idea for assignment two was to investigate some of my theories around memory. I would cut negatives and make new memories by combining negatives on a scanner (I have a medium format scanner). My thoughts around this are on my blog here: https://wordpress.com/view/umneymovingimage.wordpress.comI’m not sure I knew that I was about to create assignment two, but after I realised that the work that I was making were indeed ‘film stills’, it became a clear idea to pull these together into a narrative that describes how I understand memory works.
The assignment two video is here:https://vimeo.com/280152823and the password is – redpen – . It is perhaps shorter than requested, but I do think it represents a tangible thread for moving forward.
As described in the blog post my process was to curate from the 6X6 negative archive, images that express something about me of the time, something about the adherence to craft technique, of seeking to master form and aesthetics as a form of self-validation – all of this wraps into the notion of memory. The process of ‘cutting’ became clearer when I abandoned the ‘safe’ process – that of working on neg’s that were of “poorer quality” – and focussed on neg’s that exemplified what I thought at the time was close to that which I had set out to achieve i.e. a full range of tones, compositional construction, sharp focus across the neg’ etc. etc.
After I had those cut negatives I edited from our family album negatives that struck me emotionally, singling them out, and starting matching them with the ‘cut’ MF neg’s. At this stage I didn’t have a narrative structure for the work, all the work was an emotional response.
I then decided to “remember”.
I wanted to include another layer to the work, that of text. I focussed on a period before I became an adult – and now I can see how this echoes with the lack of a family album of the period, and I began the process of remembering from that time. After writing these remembrances down I recorded them and in a un-structured way I edited the images in a sequence together with the audio. I had considered adding them as written texts to the video, but I felt the sound of my voice made it appear more equitable with the imagery. I feel strongly that the written word has a greater agency.
What I particularly like is the blackness of both the beginning and the end, perhaps particularly the end as it doesn’t make things clear that the video has completed. I have deliberately sequenced sound and vision to not coincide, I am particularly interested in the dissonance that evokes, the tension between allowing ‘nothing’ on the screen and whether something is going to happen. Viewing the video on a larger screen amplifies the cutting of the negatives, which I am pleased about.