Guðný Sara Birgisdóttir
gudny.sara.b [at] gmail.com
I´m chatting to a 97 years old woman. She has dementia. We are both overlooking Reykjavík but all she can see is her home on the farm. I know she´s not telling the truth. She was born and raised in Reykjavík. She says she used to visit her grandmother who lived in Reykjavík on regular bases. I know that is not true either. Her grandmother never lived in Reykjavík.
What happens when we get older? What becomes of memories? Some memories make us feel uncomfortable and our mind gets rid of them, or puts them in a place we rarely look into. techniques like hypnotism, memories can be evoked, even though we may have thought those memories were long gone or forgotten, they can be opened up and entered through like a door. The house symbolizes the mind. It has a basement, loft, nooks and crannies which accommodate several vivid memories. We go back to those memories in our daydreams throughout life.
I have been making installations which emphasize memories, dreams, daydreams, stories and narrative. When exposing my memories and emotions through my work, I´ve made myself and others vulnerable, as I try to evoke something similar with the audience. I´ve tried to get those ´hard to reach´ memories that the audience have, up to the surface. I´ve expressed my thoughts and asked questions I don´t know the answers to, hoping that the audience can identify with that. The audience can either contemplate my speculations or feel the sensation I try to express through words, smell, videos and audio recordings.
I find it important to make my installations as well as other work poetic, make the most of the space I have, and control the movements and thoughts of the people who enter that space. It is likely that some of our first memories are not real as such, but a narrative we’ve created from stories we´ve been told. But what becomes of our memories? Why is it that when we grow old and the brain starts to deteriorate most of our memories are from when we were children whereas the short term memory is next to nothing?