14 - 15

While the personal memories displayed in True to Life are transmutable, family memories are filtered through each member’s perception. Generations by Karen Hanmer shows the memories of three generations of men in her own family by layering family photographs and text, the text consisting of thoughts and memories about past fishing and hunting trips.

The images – of a son, his father and his grandfather – vary from sharp to faded, mimicking the ways memories arise and blur as we look back. Like written history, the visual history provided by photographs becomes the record

of family relationships. As in the image shown here, the participants in this fishing trip pose for their pictures, each photo capturing a moment in time that will become a part of the family history. Generations conjures up for viewers their own family outings, whether fishing trip or shopping trip, and engenders reflection on the meaning of memory and history in their own lives.

Karen Hanmer

The shifting and changeable nature of memory is mirrored in the structure of True to Life by Juli Chen. Just as one’s memory of an event can fluctuate over time, Chen’s marriage of text, graphics and unique construction allows the reader to alter the story and meaning of the book. Through the use of interactive components, different combinations of image and text create alternative versions of the content.

In one configuration the visuals are teal, green and red against a warm orange background, and the text reads “Sift through the pieces and try to separate fact from fiction.

Reassemble a patchwork narrative of events.” As one moves the levers, the background shifts: the warm orange is now interspersed with a sage green. And, in meta-textual fashion, we are told to “Change the words ever so slightly with each telling. Relive the pain of knowing you were wrong.” True to Life cleverly and elegantly illustrates how the unintentional reshaping of memory can provide a multiplicity of story permutations.

True to Life

Julie Chen

© 2014 Lauren Dudley. All Rights Reserved. Website by BradyArt