Deep Valley (screen memories). 2018-19
mixed media installation
35 mm slides, tracing paper, laser prints on tracing paper, 2 slide projectors, 2 light boxes
The Built Heritage Research Center of the Technion’s Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning contains hundreds of Ruth Enis' diapositive slides, letters, and plans. They served as the foundational matter of the architecture and urbanism archive at Haifa’s technical university. Much of the material was rendered illegible without Ruth's firsthand account memory to provide context because of her loss of memory.
Ruth's slides exist in the archive with little order. Those for educational purposes and those showing private scenes of family life lie indiscriminately next to one another.
Which is which? The memory content ought to be stored on each of the respective slides became impossible to understand.
We want memory to be narrative, serial, even though this is not how memory works at all.
The way that KODAK advertised such slides when projectors were first marketed for home use was through its effect of nostalgia. The "carousel" in which the slides are deposited reinforce the idea of capturing memory as if it was neatly lined up, as if they could be captured and stored in sequence and as if our memories could be accessed in that way.The slides are negatives that are in fact positives. They are a haptic, analog representation of lived experiences and their presentation is performed. The slides speak to how memories are fugitive (think of flea markets selling slides of strangers), and the delicacy of the material itself. Until today, the camera lens is a crucial instrument of architectural education, of framing perspective and spatial sequencing.
Ruth’s memory is gone and the slides cannot act as carriers of memory anymore. However, Ruth is emulated in her slides. Each of them is a window into her life and into the memories she is looking for.
Photo credits: Allison O. Evans
Thanks to: Zara Kuredjian, Joe Riley
exhibited November/December 2019 at UAG, San Diego
This installation piece is part of an artistic research about Israeli landscape architect Ruth Enis unfolded over the several stages.
The project has been funded by the Austrian Federal Chancellery (START-Stipendium für Architektur und Design 2017 des Bundeskanzleramts)
Preceding research: From Wasteland to Settlement. Tracing a Biography between Flight and Nation-building, Tradition and Self-Empowerment (2015-2018).
With thanks to: Vanessa Opoku, Terese Kasalicky, Stephanie Hintersteiner
Funded by: Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Fund for Queer-Feminist Research of the Austrian Student Union
German Studies Student Union (University of Vienna)