A house is an intimate space constructed of memories and experiences.
The architecture of the house plays an important role in giving our memories meaning and context. The home is where we make plans for our lives – the memories form blueprints in our minds of our experiences and the places we have lived.
Photographs of the events become the memories, and those memories construct the stories of our lives and histories. The home is often the backdrop to key moments and experiences and thus it becomes the background of the photograph. The photograph gives the memory context showing not just the ‘what’ but also the ‘where’.
A house without memories is just a space, it becomes a home when we fill that space with memories.
Click the images for a larger view.
Wall Stories draws a connection between architecture and memories.
The work is a collaboration between artist Anne Guest and photographer Richard Nicholls. They contend that the architectural link to memories is an important one – the presence of a house in a photograph gives it context and place. The memories associated with the image mean that it’s not just a house in the background but a home.
The artists have used ‘found’ photographs and negatives from their own families, taken from key stages of life. These have been layered with floor plans of houses, both personal spaces and historic drawings. The work has been composed digitally and then hand printed using the cyanotype process – traditionally used for producing architectural blueprints.
The project was initiated by reading House of Leaves (Mark Z Danielewski, 2000) in which a family discover that their house’s inner dimensions are impossibly larger than its outward dimensions. Danielewski drew inspiration from Poetics of Space (Gaston Bachelard, 1958) in which Bachelard examines the domestic places that shape and hold our thoughts and memories.
Talking about the project, Anne says, “The idea that the home can metaphorically expand to ‘contain’ or ‘house’ memories and become a shifting and constantly changing space has changed the way I think about these spaces.”
Richard adds, “We set out to produce a series of images as a response to a written work. This single starting point evoked completely different ideas and approaches from each of us and it’s been a fascinating process to see how the project has evolved over time into a cohesive body of work. Working together has played to both our strengths and the final works reflect this.”
This is their first collaborative project. More work can be seen at www.guest.nicholls-uk.net