Everything of which I was once conscious but have now forgotten
Encounters with memory
Keywords:memory, trauma, creative practice, psychological enquiry, somatic experiencing
This article addresses how art and spatial practise can increase the potential for knowledge transfer and celebrate diverse forms of embodied expertise. By examining the intersection of creative practise and psychological enquiry, I explore memory as embodied or sensory remembering, and ask how the encounter with material forms can engage with memory to generate meaning through the embodied associations of the materials used. Processing emotions and lived experiences through reflection, and then re-imagining and re-materialising them in a contemporary context, reveals trauma as an element of a fractured then re-forming identity. Integration in this context is a process where an awareness of painful memories of trauma is incorporated into a sense of self, and the trauma no longer constrains the individual. Through an analysis of my own multimedia practise, which references my traumatic memories, I propose that creative practise is a form of somatic experiencing. The embodied gestures involved in artmaking, together with reflection that is an intrinsic part of the process, lead to release of the unconscious pent energy embedded in trauma. I consider whether a material investigation and experimentation with the sensory aspects of memory, including affect, embodied perception, intuition and felt knowledge, is a means to transform past trauma. By releasing traumatic energy through an embodied engagement with an expanded spatial practise, I am increasing the potential for knowledge transfer, which is then expressed in the artwork. Trauma is exposed, moving from silence to testimony, and the witnessing by an audience further increases the potential for transfer of knowledge. Diverse embodiment emerges through the employment of a disparate range of materials and methods, including the creation of spatial encounters.
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