The Powerful Whispers Project: A Box of Family Photographs as Archival Site of Post-Memory and the ‘Trace’

  • Abstract:

    The Powerful Whispers Project documents the archive of artefacts, artistic responses, critical analysis, examined and generated, as responses to a personal archive: a box of family photographs documenting the Wilson family from the Victorian era to the 1980s. The artworks arising from the studied archive have been exhibited internationally under the collective name of ‘The Powerful Whispers Project’, an ongoing fiber-based series of works integrating digital and haptic technologies. The works explore the trace of memory, post-memory and the representation of post-memory using photographic archival materials and family narrative and memory. The artworks establish a correlation between the concept of the material as fabric and the material as representation exploring the integration of the family in image, material culture and as a series of objects. Critical analysis positions the debate within the field of post memory in making and culture, appropriating images and the sensual in fibre and fabric, to expand the exploration of the fragmentary and the half remembered in Deleuzian folds in time and space. The Powerful Whispers Project considers the remembered object and the remembered image of post-memory in relation to discourses on the concept of the surreal object and the phantasmagoria of memory, informed by Derrida’s ‘undeciderability’ of the archive, the phantasmagoria of the archival image and literature on memory and post-memory by Jo Spence, Annette Kuhn, Marianne Hirsch, Patricia Holland and Joan Gibbons.