The Persistence of Red
Psychosocial cartography project
The Persistence of Red is an artist book composed of five independent ‘mind maps’. It is a mixed media presentation of constellations of texts, photography, drawing, painting, archive photos and movie stills. These are thought pieces on Chronological Resonnance, which is a Psychogeographical term established by Peter Akroyed to refer to ‘deep echoes in time’. It is in essence the idea that, inside a specific space, human activity repeats itself infinitely. Hannah has created these in response to an exploration of return. A return to a residency where her parents had both worked at different intervals 20 years earlier. Her initial search was based on a want for understanding of belonging, artistic heritage and of perpetuating a familial continuity. While exploring her own layers of memory she has translated the memory of the place itself. Inspired by the natural elements which resound strongly in this small town of Cadaqués which is situated in the centre of a natural park, she chose four different characters to help her explore the repetition and the conservation of memory. The Memory collector, The Wind Maker, The Time Keeper, The Sea Searcher, are the pillars of her research. Each one has a map in which Hannah explores her questions about the place as well as the metaphoric position of each character. At the bottom of each map is a soundscape and quotations from recordings taking during various interviews. These soundscapes tie all the maps together in one long time line.
Delving into the multiple textural memories of a child (the rocks, the sea, the ground), the olfactive (herbs, trees and sea) and of course auditive (the waves, the church bells) She depicts a mental landscape. The maps explore space, transgenerational patterns, habits, repetition of colours, and the search for sense of belonging in an elusive place. They document the location, senses, sensitivity, emotion and collective memory of key elements. It provokes instinctive links between objects, events and emotions which goes beyond the theoretical. The map is hence a way of bringing together inspiration and ideology while reducing vast distances between concepts. Maps have long had a elite theoretical character but they have great potential for democratic use. This is why The Persistence of Red is not a precious art piece but an object to be handled and poured over. Folded and unfolded; echoing time.
As Neptys Swer questions in her collaborative project Cartographie Radicale: ‘The external perception brings us to a descriptive cartography of forms and systems. An internal exploration or an exploration of others, questioning our sentiment, our perception, leads to an emotional and sensitive cartography, where we do not only represent objects or tangible data, but how these can impact our emotions and sensitivities. Can we map impressions, an experience, a feeling?’. She also references Anna Patipa and Jacob Bordman’s experience of their survival and return from the Shoah. It was represented in a sensitive and human way by Levi Westerveld and Anne Kelly Knowls in their article ‘j’étais là-bas’ (I was there). It uses a mind map approach to spacialization and emotion linked to the passage through space.
This is what interests me in documenting this location through senses and sensitivity; emotion and collective memory of key elements and the opening the currents of collective connection. It is a questioning of language which goes beyond the theoretical and provokes instinctive links between objects, events and emotions. The map is hence a way of bringing together inspiration, ideology while reducing vast distances between concepts. I am thinking of Aby Warburg’s Bilderatlas Mnemosyne but also of Janette Mark’s Crystal Dictionnaries. Both these projects open ones abstract mind connections to worlds without concrete justification.