Going forward to the past – not in order to recount what once was, but by way of re turning, turning it over and over again…

“Going forward to the past – not in order to recount what once was, but by way of re turning, turning it over and over again…

To address the past (and future), to speak with ghosts, is not to entertain or reconstruct some narrative of the way it was, but to respond, to be responsible, to take responsibility for that which we inherit (from the past and the future).” Karen Barad ‘Diffracting Diffraction: Cutting Together Apart’ 1

The past few weeks I have been trying to catch up on the reading I had planned for my residency. The quote above about diffraction is from feminist theory but centers on ideas of light and time. I’ve been rereading bits of The Future of Nostalgia bt Boym2 because of it’s relation to The Institute of Reminiscence residency also.

The metaphorical parallels drawn from these texts are things I am playing with practically and visually. The idea that diffraction is not a reflection but made up of something almost new, is fascinating, and while I can’t fully understand all the theory all the time, the ideas it relates to visually are what I am drawing from.



I have also started to think about how each ‘moment is an infinite multiplicity’1 a slice/ a node and this had led me to re interpreting the same image over and over, re visiting it to make new work. (I usually consider multiple images). Interpreting the same image as a film opens up other notions of narrative and time, which is superimposed on the image, which is in fact a still photograph. This play with time, re introducing time into something that is static, is what I find really powerful. How this is then presented is also what I am working on just now, thinking about how different display mechanisms add or detract from these ideas.

Boym has introduced me to the work of Jacques-Henri Lartigue, who ‘worked against’2 his media to capture motion in still images, ‘letting them evade his frame’2. I feel sympathy towards this idea of working ‘against’ a medium, which is perhaps what I am also trying to do. Diffraction is similarly not back, not forward but sideways and split, so I am trying to work in this way.

I have also viewing new things through this image to give the pasts perspective on a new moment, looking at water specifically.


1 Karen Barad ‘Diffracting Diffraction: Cutting Together Apart’ Karen Barad, Parallax, Vol 20, No 3, (168-187) p.182

2 Boym, Svetlana (2001) The Future of Nostalgia ‘The Angel of History & Modernity’ page 21, Basic Books. New York

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