ART STATEMENT 2009: 'THE MEMORY PALACE SERIES' by Birgitte Moos
Being born into the time of no future generation pondering over how to visually manifest an idea of tracking events back to that era. Remember being impelled towards a fascinating system. A Memory Palace... An ancient technique used for almost total recall, a technique to remember vast amounts ofinformation, before the age of universal writing ability, available to everyone. The method of loci or “ars memoriae" (art of memory in Latin) was an implement used by the scribes of the Ancient Greek World. The idea has been recurrently used in literature and film.
This learning system is based on allocating physical locations in the mind, used most often in cases where long lists of material had to be remembered precisely. Familiar buildings such as churches, temples or markets, places one has physically visited are the ideal, for the task. The Library of Alexandria was often used as and referred to as a Memory Palace.
To use the method one have to go through (physically) a building repeatedly and in the same sequence whilst looking at the same places as before. Then one connect the item one have to remember witTthe places in the building, for example the parts in a complicated speech.To recall that speech you visit the places in the building with your mind, with which you have connected your speech to. The method is to ensure that you have associated ideas with pictures, localizing theese pictures in a spatial place. A vast compound of space, filled with memories connected with definite places in a building. A Memory Palace.
The system is fascinating. Not only just as tool for remembering, but also as a new concept, a product for the imagination, and a fount to store abstract memories: Paintings representing thoughts and memories, stored in a labyrinthine system in a house.
In order to visualize the idea of this mental construct, and to provide storage space for the myriad impressions stored in the inner world of the mind and the feelings associated with it, the intention became to construct a wooden tower (the mind), where paintings (memories) are hung on the inner walls (the Memory Palace).The whole construction is to be constructed as a ramshackle house, a symbol of a scattered brain full of information. The wooden construct will have an entrance, where one can walk into the palace for a brief secretive glimpse. A perverse peep, of the creative and complex atmosphere inside the memories of someone’s mind palace. On the walls, inside the construction, is an organized series of visual representations of memories: Paintings overlapping each other sometimes, as if containing uncontrollable information in underlying patterns. Every painting is a repository of memories within memories.
The visual and spatial representations of the paintings, are accorded their logical and/or psychological connections.
The Memory Palace Project weaves layers of psychological narrative into separate versions, represented by each individual painting, of an inner biography. The paintings store their repertoire of spells in an unpleasant temple of revelation. A brain, a storage space, in which “Dangerous” insights sets that world apart from our own reality.
By Birgitte Moos
ART STATEMENT 20011. 'THE MEMORY PALACE SERIES' by Birgitte Moos
The content of the painting is temporal. Its content visualizes what time is, in itself, when it is created as a physical and abstract object, the painting. The object itself is a container containing time. The painting is incomprehensible from the inside, giving the outside audience an experience beyond time and space. The painting has transformed time into an object, where the object is subject to the spectator attendance.
When a spectator places himself in front of a painting, the person is in time. Inside the painting many time periods are reflected. Regarding the time reflections, I took a starting point from Jaques Lacan’s theories of ’Mirror Stages’. A human is in ’violence of time’. The experience inside the container becomes self-referential. The sequences of events (the visual compositions) that are inside in time (present, space, sound) are variant and multi referential.
I adapted some of my considerations about time from an object ’Alt 2000’ that I developed while being a student of set design at Denmarks Designschool.
I take a lot of pleasure in making the painting seem like there is a lot of work beneath the paint, to it give it the feel and texture of a worked-on canvas. But, as the surface is the content, it becomes alive straight away. I have no need to spend months on generating one single expression as on a naturalistic painting. This can be be done swiftly through other medias.
On the contrary, the act of painting is an action where the body pulls on impressions of layered information, gathered through being an image devourer, and an avid reader fascinated by intercultural expression. The impressions need to be transferred to the canvas quickly, so I can move on with my research and paint more paintings.
I don’t search for my identity through the act of painting anymore, and rarely, if ever, paint as a need for emotional or immediate expression or relief, as seen in the postwar expressionist movement. Works coming out of various influences are translated into precise abstractions containing shape, form, color and opinions about culture. Multiplying the newer cultural diffences and inserting old values in the 'semiotic square'.
As the paintings deals with multi-referential forms, they can be decoded in several directions. Inspirational sources can include anything from art, new technology to the humanities such as anthropology, philosophy, art history and linguistics to social and natural sciences.
Intuitively my intention is to create experiences of a coincidence principle. A principle of perfection through 'de-form' where the known and the aesthetic material is broken up. I have for example been inspired by the title of Deleuze and Guattaris’ ‘A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia'.
The paintings are references to various movements, past and present. I choose to work so fast that I cannot stop the content from becoming a response to my own myriad of thought contradictions and interests, as a result of being a product of an era, that is and has developed so quickly as never seen before in history.
My guess is that, the brain has so much unused capacity and empty space, that it can afford to take in lots of new information and reprocess it.
Being classically trained, and been dragged through years of art theory and drawing through the various educational instititutions, this has helped me to place paint precisely abstract. Sort of abstract figurative. To paint without indecisiveness, because of the personal, ethical and aesthetic foundations within me.
Not as a result of toxic oil fumes, I assure you, as I do use acrylic paint, I simply love color and the process of mixing them,
it is highly intoxicating. But I do question the defense of ancestral academic virtues and crafts. Today, it is completely different floating values, it's about. Art has become an open expression that freely chooses its materials and techniques as needed.
I don't see breaking up the use of styles as a postmodern stylization. I see it as standing on the edge of post-human society’s stylization. I am influenced by being a witness of unprecedented technologies introduced to extend and enhance human living conditions.
Humanity is in the intermediate stage of a new system, which question previous centuries of humanistic values and traditions. Some scientists believe that we are now on the threshold of new forms of existence and interaction. Changes that which no doubt will transform basic human living conditions. These changes will provoke very deep ideas in the humanistic sciences: The past inventories of cultural material that has taught us about the humanistic values. The Australian Artist Stellarc states, that new modes of high-tech interaction could break cultural memory and the old ways of Western thinking. This scenario would have been a relevant solution to Hamlets schism; a mankind still functioning on memory.
I am not on a mission to neglect humanistic traditions and values . On the contrary, the experiment is an attempt to find new painterly forms and to explore how the painting has its eligibility, and why!
I have in a constant interaction explored and worked with painting, new visual forms of communication, digital media, interdisciplinary set designs, graphics and fashion. And return passionately back to expressive painting, as the most direct medium to express a network of content and codes, that I constantly seek out and meet in my everyday life. An everyday, where I try to avoid the tedium and ignorance. A life composed of choices and involuntary events, where the multiple forms of media is not above, but a foundation for painting.
A painting can both inspire and be inspired by intercultural communication. Simultaneously a new cultural landscape emerges: a mutually synergistic interaction communicating between the surrounding society, paintings and viewers.
Overall I assume that my paintings consists of consciousness, sociological reflections, cultural commentary and memory, collective work across disciplines, applied interdisciplinary art forms and transformations of words and action into spatial painterly solutions. Painting contains an option to move people's awareness, support the development of global networks, transcend age, experience, social, religious and cultural backgrounds.
Copyright ® Birgitte Moos 2014
© Birgitte Moos Chalcraft 2020