I have found that in the process of recreating my memories in the form of assemblage that I am changing my memories. Following some of the principles of psychologist Elizabeth Loftus’ “misinformation effect”, I am developing the perceptual imprint of a memory through repeatedly visiting and manipulating its new physical form. Surprisingly, secondary memories and even happenings of great personal importance that I did not experience first hand can become part of a memory. While this seems far fetched it is just an intensive and extended form of recollection that has been intertwined with my creative practice.
In the piece, “Riding North to Cabo Delgado” based on my memory of a truck ride in Mozambique a decade ago, I had very little recollection of the driver of the truck because I was sitting in the back with a boy and his mother. As I created the driver and pieced together the glass for the windshield and driver side window, it dawned on me that I was relating a friend of mine who died tragically in a car accident two years before I went to Mozambique. I was not in the car with him though I was at his house the night before. I have thought so much about the accident, imagining what it was like having heard its details. This repeated imagining of such an important event has made it feel incredibly similar to a memory and has allowed it, unbeknownst to me, to make its way into the truck.
A major inspiration for the work comes from witnessing giant wooden fishing ships at the Sasoon dock in Mumbai, India. Despite being instantly stunned by the ships, and repeatedly circling back to see them, I could not understand why they were so beautiful. They were roughly cut, dirty, far from ornate. They were not the largest boats I had ever seen nor were they the most artfully crafted.
A week after viewing the boats, it struck me why they had so powerfully affected me. The wood planks used were not cut for the boat specifically. They were massive, odd-fitting, unevenly worn and bolted together. Regardless, the boat as a whole was clearly functional, balanced and strong. The vessel needed not sacrifice the identity of its parts to become a better whole.
Being a highly functional amalgamation is at the root of being human. We are creatures with a memory, a past only partially of our making. We recollect our most formative experiences, crudely shaping them into truths, lessons, useful material to form our being. But we have a longing to understand our past as something solid, an objective reality that once was, so we do our best to never strip our parts of their identifying qualities and the clues to their source. We must be individuals and all our parts. These subsequent existences form an intricate beauty that is deeply human.
Brian grew up outside Philadelphia and moved to Brooklyn in 2010. Fascinated by his place in the mix of cultures and class identities, he produced two interactive shows, “Artists and Patrons” and “Between Neighbors”: the latter, a pop up show in a larg vacant lot on his block, gained him a strong connection with the local art community, and a place on the PLG Arts board. His next opening will be on June 7th, at 287 Spring Street Gallery from 6-8pm. Brian would like you to know that he is seeking a psychologist specializing in memory to make a presentation during the exhibit. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.