Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I thought a great deal about this theme.  As part of my process, I asked my mother to send me pictures of the two of us together, hoping that one of the pictures she sent could be recreated for this challenge.

As it turned out, it was the combination of the note she sent to accompany the pictures she selected that led me to this piece.  My mother sent pictures from a family vacation.  In her note, my mother wrote, "Do you remember this wonderful day on the dunes?"  Well, if you saw my face in the picture, you'd know that I had a completely different feeling about the day and hence, a completely different memory of it.

That got me thinking.  Two people may share some of the same facts of an event (dunes; summer vacation; Mom, Dad, and me), but our emotions, circumstances, and biases can tumble up those facts into a completely different recollection.  As time goes by, our memories often become more of a collage, as opposed to a clear picture, of what happened.  Let me reference the following from documentation from the New Jersey criminal court system, describing in-court instruction for witness identification:

Human memory is not foolproof.  Research has revealed that human memory is not like a video recording that a witness need only replay to remember what happened.  Memory is far more complex.[1]   The process of remembering consists of three stages: acquisition -- the perception of the original event; retention -- the period of time that passes between the event and the eventual recollection of a piece of information; and retrieval -- the stage during which a person recalls stored information.  At each of these stages, memory can be affected by a variety of factors.[2]   

[1]            State v. Henderson, 208 N.J. 208, 245 (2011).
[2]            Id. at 245-46.

With all this in mind, I decided to created a piece that tried to visually represent the passage of time on memory. Acquisition, retention and retrieval  -- three different elements of remembering -- are braided together to create our personal memories.


  1. Vivien, this stimulated my curiosity about linkages of our memories. I like your use of primary colours to show individuality of memory and your use of the interwoven process. A thoughtful piece.

  2. I like that you have taken a deeper look at memories. Nice visual presentation of the concept.

  3. Hi Vivien,
    This is an interesting look at the complexity and clarity of memory.
    I have never considered memory in terms of stages.
    Your image makes this point nicely.

  4. A really intriguing representation of memory. I like the way those definite shapes become that soft swirling mass. Very graphic quality with the pure colours and lines