Dissecting The Site: an investigation of space, place and memory in Central Manchester Hospitals
In my art practice, I uncover hidden narratives, and use the material qualities of site and story to create visual artwork which speaks of what Christian Boltanski calls ‘small memories’, the overlooked or undocumented experiences of ordinary people.
Small memories contribute to the transformation of space into place, which cultural geographer Yi-Fu Tuan describes as giving value through a process of human connection. (Tuan, 1977) The competing requirements for space in a contemporary city may devalue these attachments and disregard the importance of memory. However, Kealy Morris suggests that even after the destruction of place, people’s connection to it persists (Kealy-Morris, 2008).
The question of how to memorialise attachment to lost place is complex. Young considers that monuments are intrinsically contradictory as they make ‘remembering’ unnecessary. He argues that this problem can be overcome by a consideration of spatial and temporal scale. (Young, 2009) The memorial should fit the memory. How then to memorialise small memories and honour the lives of their owners?