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2018 Annual Conference

Philadelphia

March 01-04, 2018

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2018 SPE Annual Conference: Uncertain Times: Borders, Refuge, Community, Nationhood / Hosted by The University of the Arts

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Ally Christmas

SPE Member since 2015
Member Chapter: Southeast

Pleasing Memory Picture

The photographic image serves as a mechanism of representation, which has historically been used for binding the human body to the world. How, then, do that representation and subsequent binding become complicated or disrupted through the violent act of manipulating one’s representation by technological means? Relying on the algorithmic software of Photoshop, I have been exploring this idea of erasing or rewriting my personal history - which has involved a systematic use of the Content Aware Fill function and an almost obsessive-compulsive impulse to erase every trace of my representation from the photographs in my personal archive. The idea of the family album or personal photograph being private has become complicated with the digitization of cameras and the computerization of people; today, most people have created some version of a digital simulacrum of themselves to share in the public, networked sphere, and the value of the physical photograph as a once precious object is now unclear. The image file composed of 1’s and 0’s is no longer the only manipulable object; we, ourselves, have become information to be encoded and manipulated.

These images and time-based pieces are part of a larger, ongoing body of work (more can be found at pleasingmemorypicture.com), and largely represent a continued narrative throughout my recent practice that explores the complex relationships between photography, death, and memory. A few years ago I interviewed a mortician named Sam, and he told me that in mortuary school his teachers stressed the importance of what they called the “pleasing memory picture” - the last photo of someone you use to remember them by.

Content Aware

Content Aware

Content Aware

Content Aware

Content Aware

Content Aware

Content Aware

Content Aware

Content Aware

How to Erase Yourself

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