Todays class was about experience and reflection, either of the original Godzilla movie or Haji Oh’s exhibition. I chose the latter, and have recorded my thoughts through audio via. soundcloud. I have also included a transcript of what is said for those who prefer to read, accompanied by pictures throughout. Even if you don’t read the transcript, the images may help enhance some of the descriptions.
Enter a room with cascades of yarn spilling from the ceiling. Artfully arranged around the room, some falling to the floor and breaking apart as it seeps across the room, while others knot together, intertwining the paths before falling into line across the floor in unison.
Around the room images of dresses for young girls hang. One, Three, Five, Six. Pastel shades of blue, pink, and red, stain the cloth with patterns following a floral theme stitched to the opaque white fabric. They hang silently within the page which keeps them captive, as that too hangs from the sky.
Gravity holds a power over the whole exhibition, allowing the art to fall in ordered chaos.
Oh’s aim: “to unravel memories and re-weave them in order to trace silent-memories” (UOW TAEM, 2015), and as the yarn journeys out it disconnects from it’s body, unravelling until it is a tangle of mess. From the floor, you are unable to differentiate one strand from another, as it stems away from the main body of fallen string, however upon looking over the display from above, it is clear to see the intersecting ends, outstretching towards it’s neighbours. Like strands of memory interweaving with our own prejudice and experience, mixed together until they become one.
Memory. Such a dynamic concept. Ever changing, ever adapting, as our understanding grows. Ghosts of the originals stray as we forge a solid idea of what our memory should be. We fabricate realities to fill in the gaps of what we know. We tell stories of people we don’t remember as being something beyond being an inciting incident, an epiphany in the form of a person. They have touched our lives, and we remember that, but we don’t always know how. Oh’s artwork seems to acknowledge this, creating a sense of time through the branches of falling yarn, interweaving lives within the knotted waterfalls, and weaving stories into the work as she focuses on the process of what she is doing. The materiality re-creates the story with new purpose. Those whose stories have not been told, are brought forward, as she attempts to understand experience from other people such as her grandmother. Silent memories. Not concrete, but ever present. They exist in time, however thrive in the past, seeping away from reality as the stories are forgotten, unless one reflects or recounts, catching the event once more.
Her woven webs draw upon memories of my own, enabling me to reflect upon art subjects I took in my first year of university. Whether intended or not, my memories become a part of the installation, a gateway to my own silent memories. We experimented with the materiality of paper and how it can be used to create other forms, folding to make objects, weaving to make rope. The emphasis was on the process of doing, of creating, of making, resulting in an art piece which infused the final product with hours of doing, creating a new intent in itself: to not only represent an idea, but also to infuse the idea with the memory of creation, merging together the hard work with the idea and allowing it to become one. By weaving each area, Oh has created a space to reflect upon memory, but also combined it with new ones of labour.
UOW TAEM, 2015, Wearing Memory, Artist In Residence: Haji Oh, University of Wollongong The Arts, English & Media, TAEM Gallery.