Rosemary for remembrance

Graduate project from Goldsmiths University, BA Design 2020.

‘Rosemary for Remembrance’ is a project about memory and ritual, which stems from my Grandmother’s condition of memory loss. A series of films were produced mirroring my Grandmother’s experience, along with installations that were inspired by the commemorative tradition of ‘Well-Dressing’. The aim of this project is to disrupt the often frustrating and repetitive routines within the reality of the Carer: Cared-for relationship; creating a positive outlook on a condition perceived as one of loss and deterioration.

The process of introducing my grandmother into a series of planned experiences allowed for an immersion into her reality. These experiences consisted of a reenactment of: ‘A Teddy Bear’s Picnic’; the creation of a ‘Celtic-Canarian hybridization of the tradition of Well-Dressing’; visiting a Canarian ‘flea-market’ and introducing my grandmother to the chaotic and exciting environment of ‘Los Indianos Carnival’.

By observing these bright and dynamic moments within the films, other things began to surface, such as ethically-dubious social issues. These moments allow us to build our own stories and thoughts from these experiences, which have been brought to light as a result of this process.

Delving into rivers in South Wales, a series of abstract underwater footage helped visualise the playful and surreal elements of her condition. This footage was extracted from one of my grandmother’s versions of a teddy bears picnic, where the bears were lost in the river and floated away to an imagined realm of ‘Teddy-land’. This became a metaphor for the subconscious realm where memories exist.

“Something is stirring in a shadowed corner of one’s mind, playful, menacing, warping, emerging like a little flame. Memory.

We watch these flickering images in a constant reel- allowing them to roam and morph.
But something is happening… my perception is changing, and I begin to see memory as something different- a malleable substance that can be used to shape not only one’s reality- but that of others as well.

My grandmother does not remember my project, she sees it for the first time, again and again, we are in a loop, yet it is never the same. The reason being that as we go around creating and moving, residues of memories are accumulating, building something. Unseen- and unacknowledged, the loop is expanding and now I stand inside it.

Furthermore, we can begin to invite others to join us, to embrace this fragmented reality as a unique learning environment, rather than only perceiving the loss that is embedded within each fragmented memory.”

This project embraces qualities of conditions such as memory loss through creative experiences, making and building things in a space free from hierarchy. One has to humble oneself and accept the frightening reality together, but not give into the despair.

Together we can cultivate creativity and awareness, stemming from a condition of perceived loss.