︎︎︎ To Carry Images

2024 Forthcoming Publication

“...I see my ribcage. I see the protrusions of each of my ribs and I’m putting my arm above my head in the air. When I’m doing this the ribs are poking out further. With my other arm and my pointer finger I’m touching the ribs. I’m running my finger over them and feeling each of their bumps protruding out of my ribcage.”

This excerpted transcript, titled Mental Imagery 01: Ribs, is from an audio recording that I conducted in 2021 where I attempt to describe a recurring mental image in real time. The content of this and other related mental images that arose in the same period are connected to stories of genocide from the World War 2 European Holocaust that were told to me throughout my childhood as a third-generation descendant. These mental images have arrived with renewed force in tandem with a growing authoritarian, populist movement that in recent years has been sweeping the world configuring the “jew” once again as a target of vitriolic hate, violence and scapegoating.

The interfacing of this internal mental imaging process with exterior shifts in the notion of “the jew”, along with the passing of the generation who directly experienced the holocaust, led me to a process of “becoming Jewish”. This, for me, has ignited a sense of responsibility to carry these images, and with them the violent and traumatic knowledge that is passing from one generation to the next. This has motivated and compelled me to understand more deeply how memory as imagery is passed trans-generationally and how artistic research and practice can map this process by articulating its insights through dialogical works of art. Furthermore, it has led me to consider how the use of this knowledge thus passed on can contribute to the resistance against ongoing and future genocide.

This inquiry has necessitated working within an interdisciplinary frame that draws from the fields of moving-image artistic practice, neuroscience and memory studies. I conceptualize this approach as that of the minor specialist, someone who approaches these disciplines as an outsider from within with the aim of expanding the meaning of each disciplinary practice. This approach has been shaped by a matrix of critical analysis consisting of situated knowledge, decoloniality and substance monism.  Doing so, I have developed a novel artistic research tool The Landscape of Embodied Imaging through which I map the emergence and transformation of images as internal and external representations as they are engaged in a communicative multigenerational dialogue.

The Publication presents the Landscape of Embodied Imaging, outlining the three distinct zones of relation that comprise it: 1) Inward facing images; which serves to map the way that images enter our bodies and remain over time. These are presented through transcriptions of audio recordings (Mental Imagery 01: Ribcage; Mental Imagery 02: Fingerprint, Mental Imagery 03: Skin); 2) Externalized representations: which maps the ways in which images are inscribed externally for the purpose of reflective articulation. These are presented through experimental short stories and essayistic reflections: The birthday, The clock face, The Microscopic Burial, Holobiont Faciality, Epidemic Relations: 5G and the Microbe, Chronosomatic Imaging, and 3) Outward facing images that seek communication and dialogue beyond the self, presented through the audio performance the Microscopic burial.

As a whole the dissertation conceptualizes, articulates, and demonstrates how The Landscape of Embodied Imaging produces a unique interface between subjective coordinates, communal affinities and memorial processes. This in turn creates an emergent notion of imaging referred to as Postmemory Neuro Imaging as a mode of imaging that engages in recuperative processes of epistemic reconstruction through reconnecting the relations between internal and external representations. The hope is thus that this research, beyond contributing to the matrix of disciplines that it engages, will help us comprehend some of the key memorial lessons that have been passed transgenerationally and enable us to resist ongoing and future genocides.