September 2, 2011

The Texture of Memory

I love NPR radio. There was recently an interview with Joshua Foer talking about his fantastic new book Moonwalking With Einstein: the Art and Science of Remembering Everything. The ‘art’ he refers to is based on a set of techniques invented in ancient Greece. The ‘art’ is in creating imagery in your mind that is so dense, so colorful, so unlike anything you’ve seen before that it’s unlikely to be forgotten. Seems it’s as much about creativity as it is about memory.

In relation to the passing of time, he states as we get older our experiences become less unique, therefore more forgettable, increasing the sense of one year blending in to the next. He says that’s why it’s important to pack your life with interesting experiences that make life memorable and provide texture to the passing of time. A guy called in during the interview, a photographer, saying he can remember every picture he’s ever taken. I can as well. I can also remember what I was thinking and feeling at the time. Foer’s explanation was that we remember more in our area of expertise. I think he missed part of the truth: the act of seeing the image and clicking the shutter literally fixes the memory, and everything about the moment, in the mind’s eye. This is why photography can be a wonderful tool for enhancing experience, and memory, accessible to everyone. It helps us pay attention, helps us switch from automatic to conscious mode——enlivening the mundane, enriching the everyday.

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Jeff Romano
Jeff Romano
10 years ago

As I follow your work, and writing is work, it confirms what I believe all art is about – an exercise to get us back to being human. The human of which each one of us is – not what someone or something is telling us to be. My son wrote this about my work and I think it stands for most all of us when we stand alone in the studio

“And in this process, he, the pioneering individual, has done the most human action, he has created, he has made something in his own image. From this image, a conversation is provoked, between the artist and the viewer, who searches in themselves meaning, interpretation, reason, and pattern.”

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