university of florida > school of art+art history

gradphotoseminar >2006


artist : statement

“It may indeed be questioned whether we have any memories at all from our childhood: memories relating to our childhood may be all we possess.” Freud

As an artist that uses photography, video and performance I am determined to create a kind of a personal narrative that will function not only as history but also as a reflection of the properties of memory. In such narratives the notions of truth and falsehood must be abandoned in search of more encompassing view of personal history.

If one considers these properties of memory: one, that traumatic memory is actually (non) memory since the individual is unable to connect the event with a master narrative; two, that memory is never stable but in a state of constant flux, changing over time to reflect changes of individual: and three, memories can be developed to replace more painful events hidden in the psyche; it is easy to wonder at what point a true “autobiographical” narrative could ever be created. How can any one version of an event be considered “real” when our individual memory is always revising itself to create a more unified self? Can we arrive at the origin or truth? I suggest that we instead might agree upon several mutually exclusive paths of personal history and memory that run parallel to one other.

In order to create functioning segments of personal history, I carefully choose a medium, which lends itself to the content and emotional coloring of the memories themselves. Some pieces consist of hand-sewn figures functioning as puppets that pose in front of the camera, while at times my body itself becomes a puppet in live performances. Works often emerge as rough reenactments of ‘believed’ childhood memory or fantasy which shift as I became more interested in the work as less of an absolute narrative and more as an exploration of the screen itself.


tribute to jonBenet. 2005 > Leanne Hemingway-Siebels