Strata (Fleeting Memories)
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Published on Aug 31, 2012
"Strata (Fleeting Memories)" by Scott F. Hall and Freya Gustava, 2012, video with stereo sound, 2 minutes 56 seconds duration.
"Strata (Fleeting Memories)," a pixilation video with stereo sound created by Scott F. Hall and Freya Gustava, explores complex and layered modes through which humans interact with individual and collective memory. A solitary female figure stands inside and around the famous, classicizing Penshaw monument where she variously interacts with a free standing mirror: aesthetic shorthand for the concept of memory. The mirror suddenly appears and disappears in certain frames, changes location around the young woman, chases her, or is chased by her. Their interaction metaphorizes memory as more than desire: memories can haunt, they spring to the surface of the mind uninvited, and they persist when pushed away.
A second layer of this interaction reveals that the woman's pursuit of the mirror is simultaneously performed by the viewer. As the mirror constantly shifts in relation to *her*, so *she* continuously changes position in respect to the viewer. This parallel perspective offers a twofold meditation on the nature of memory: whether pursuing or pursued, present or absent, the mirror offers only a partial and distorted reflection of the young woman who alternatively rejects and embraces it. At the same time, the young woman offers the viewer only a distorted and fleeting image of her physical beauty, becoming herself the viewer's elusive "mirror" of memory.
The intangible nature of memory operates on a third layer uncovered by focusing on the location itself. The Penshaw monument, an aggrandizing salute to classical Greek temples, performs another enactment of memory: the Victorians' idealized reminiscence of ancient Greece. In those frames that neither the woman nor the mirror appears, the viewer finds herself gazing out from inside the monument, trapped by its dizzying height and classical nostalgia. While momentarily allowed to escape the Penshaw by following the young woman's brief exit into the surrounding countryside, we eventually return in its grand shadow; to the defining and sometimes oppressive heritage of antiquity in the western mind.
Finally, the video self-consciously alludes to the state of the art: shot alternatively in black and white and color, it offers flashes of earlier photographic techniques and hence another stratum of memory. Far from an afterthought, the aesthetic leap from present to past photography and vice versa haunts the entire video and enhances its multifaceted meditation on memory.
"Strata (Fleeting Memories)," a pixilation video with stereo sound created by Scott F. Hall and Freya Gustava, explores complex and layered modes through which humans interact with individual and collective memory.
Scott F. Hall is an artist from Merritt Island, Florida, USA, working in sound, music, instrument design, still images, video, and sculpture.
Freya Gustava is a lyricist, singer, and experimental artist from Houghton le Spring, Tyne and Wear, UK.
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