Tag Archives: This ‘Me’ of Mine

The Memory Industry

Untitled 2008, (c)Darren Nixon
Untitled 2008, (c)Darren Nixon

“One of the reasons I source mainly from newspaper, television and internet imagery is because the way we interact with these media shapes so many of our opinions about the world around us. Most of what I know about the world has been drawn in a fairly disjointed and fragmentary fashion from this huge, seemingly ever present sea of information.

The sheer amount of available knowledge is so overwhelming that I end up feeling always frustrated that I know nothing about anything. Not knowing what I should be spending my time getting to know, I end up with a constant sense of only ever partially understanding even the most important current and historical events.

I am impelled by a great fascination but end up mostly confused about which direction to allow my fascination to lead me in the time I have. Although partial understanding can be frustrating and isolating, it does carry its own qualities. As events become jumbled and confused in our minds a kind of magical haze is thrown over everything. We start to create our own narratives, filling in the gaps between what we pick up from various sources with any number of unreliable memories and opinions.” Darren Nixon

Darren’s central theme of ‘not knowing’ brings up issues of ‘not remembering’ and when applied on a global scale, this “magical haze” created by the fragmented reality of media overload, threatens our formation of collective memories; memories we experience as part of a culture and a society, memories which connect our identity to the cultural experience of a larger social group.

In art since 1900, Benjamin Buchloh makes this encouraging statement in the final roundtable discussion, “The Predicament of Contemporary Art”: “…the effort to retain or to reconstruct the capacity to remember, to think historically, is one of the few acts that can oppose the almost totalitarian implementation of the universal laws of consumption…”

However, he concludes with this condemnation, “…to deliver the aesthetic capacity to construct memory images to the voracious demands of an apparatus that entirely lacks the ability to remember and to reflect historically, and to do so in the form of resuscitated myth, is an almost guaranteed route to success in the present art world, especially with its newly added wing of “the memory industry”. Chilling.

Read more of my interview with Darren Nixon, Joining a Conversation Well Underway.

Internal Objects and the Objectified Self

“Lacan revises and enriches the myth of Narcissus, so passionately in love with his image that he plunges into the water and is drowned.”[1]

Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Bathroom, (c)2011 Hayley Harrison
Bathroom, (c)2011 Hayley Harrison

The mirror holds peril. Revealing truths unwanted or enticing the loss of the self to an objectified world. The creation of our self-identity begins with how we respond to our image in the mirror in infancy. We either recognize the ‘other’ and begin the process of socialization or we retreat to find the maternal object and become locked in the death wish.[2] Psychoanalytical theory is of course more complex and involved than that simple description. But the significance in the simplified description is the relationship of self to object. We begin to understand we are an object which occupies space, distinct from others or we seek the comfort and reassurance of objects to satisfy our longing, beginning to see everything as an object available to satisfy us.

In Kleinian theory, the ‘internal object’ is “a mental and emotional image of an external object that has been taken inside the self. The character of the internal object is coloured by aspects of the self that have been projected into it. A complex interaction continues throughout life between the world of internalised figures and objects and in the real world…the state of the internal object is considered to be of prime importance to the development and mental health of the individual.”[3]

Her, (c)2011 Hayley Harrison
Her, (c)2011 Hayley Harrison

We are bound to objects as a means to understand the world, ourselves and the complex relationships we have throughout life. Any kind of exploration of self and identity must perforce include a discussion of objects. This ‘Me’ of Mine has delved into several aspects of this ‘object relationship’, through the work of Kate Murdoch and memory association with personal identity development, Annabel Dover and the complex personal codes and emotions imposed on objects, Cathy Lomax and objects which represent self-image and emotional states and now with the work of Hayley Harrison and her use of objects as an expression of an inner self:

“I think we have to be in the ‘right’ place both internally and externally and that’s when a conversation occurs. For me self-recognition through the external is experienced in its ‘purest’ form when we are here, now, rather than through our pasts or futures.  We can be taken off guard by something, something perhaps poetic that throws us into the present. Whatever that something is, we just have to come into relationship with it.  When we experience one of these rare conversations between the internal and external I believe we come back to ourselves, much like Jacques Lacan’s famous discourse with the sardine can. Ultimately within these moments we are looking into a mirror.”

Read more of my interview with Hayley, Speak Me Many Times .

Read past interviews with Kate Murdoch, Annabel Dover and Cathy Lomax.

[1] Roundinesco, Elisabeth, “The Mirror Stage: an obliterated archive” from The Cambridge Companion to Lacan, edited by Jean-Michel Rabaté, 2003, Cambridge University Press, accessed online  at: http://artsite.arts.ucsb.edu/~arts1a/outlines/The_Cambridge_Companion_to_Lacan.pdf , 25 June 2013

[2] Ibid.

[3] Melanie Klein Trust, http://www.melanie-klein-trust.org.uk/internal-objects ,accessed 25 June 2013

Reified People

“Reified people proudly display the proofs of their intimacy with the commodity. Like the old religious fetishism, with its convulsionary raptures and miraculous cures, the fetishism of commodities generates its own moments of fervent exaltation. All this is useful for only one purpose: producing habitual submission.”

Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, p.33

White12_L'Atalante (c)2011 Cathy Lomax
White 12 (L’Atalante), (c)2011 Cathy Lomax

My first question was what exactly is a ‘reified person’? “In Marxism reification is the thingification of social relations or of those involved in them, to the extent that the nature of social relationships is expressed by the relationships between traded objects,” I found that definition in Wikipedia, it made an impression on me once before and I wondered if it would shed light on what Debord might mean as a ‘reified person’.

Some possibilities perhaps:

1. a person who worships someone in the public eye turning them into an idol and collects all manner of idol memorabilia

2. a person who takes on the attributes of a worshipped idol in the projection of a personal identity

3. a person who expresses personal identity through the outward display of status brands

4. a teenager

5. each and every one of us in the Western World (I cannot speculate here on other cultures)

As I wrote the first three, I realised the fourth and fifth. Some of these possibilities present themselves through the work of Cathy Lomax and other artists in This ‘Me’ of Mine such as Annabel Dover and Kate Murdoch, though, in their work, not as idol worship but the simple expression of social relationships through objects or the exchange of objects. This idea of ‘reified people’ is implicit throughout my interview with Cathy Lomax, The Perfect Wrapper.

Muslin, (c)2008 cathy Lomax
Muslin, (c)2008 cathy Lomax

Jane Boyer: Your work often deals with pop idols (Sixteen Most Beautiful Men, Dead Filmstars) and iconic film imagery (Film Diary, The Count of Monte Cristo). Curiously though, it’s not pop culture which is your subject, but the fascination, escapism, hero-worship and fan-love we’ve all experienced. What fascinates you about our psychological propensity to fascination and ‘longing for something unobtainable’?

Cathy Lomax: I think that pop culture in general is just a wrapper for supplying the things that the market demands – i.e. what we want. These things do not change much; they are excitement, desire, escapism etc. So with this in mind I let myself lead the direction of my work by following what it is that I am drawn to. I do not like to think that I am in any kind of elevated position in my commentary on my subjects; I am in and amongst the subject matter. Looking deeper into what it is I am interested and fascinated by, it is apparent it is something that I do not actually want but rather that it is something I can think about and live out in my head – probably because this is the safest way to do it. This is what led me to the Film Diary as film for most people is the most intense way to experience other lives and worlds.

Las Vegas Collar 2, (c)2010 Cathy Lomax
Las Vegas Collar 2, (c)2010 Cathy Lomax

Read more of our interview here.

This Me Of Mine moves to Strange Cargo| Georges House Gallery

By David Riley
By David Riley

After a successful and very positively received installation at APT Gallery in Deptford, This ‘Me’ of Mine moves onto its second venue in a four venue tour. The exhibition will open Friday 12 April at Strange Cargo|Georges House Gallery in Folkestone. The new venue is a lot more intimate than the generous space at APT and therefore might be an interesting challenge for Jane Boyer, the curator,  to recreate the grandiose atmosphere I felt when I visited the show.

Jane Boyers says “Stage two of a four venue tour begins this week at Strange Cargo|Georges House Gallery in Folkestone. The difference in gallery space for the second venue will impact the relationships of the works to each other and will present new connections for visitors to the show. The changing context of space becomes a visible manifestation of the project theme – ‘self in relation to context’.”

 ““When I installed the work at APT in their wonderful space, I was able to give much of that space to the works themselves, allowing time for reflection and possibly a deeper look into the work in the show. I soon realised, though, that the space I allowed the works became more than just ‘space’, it became a visible manifestation of the project theme, self in relation to context. Just as each piece in the show makes visible an aspect of self and identity, this space made ‘context’ visible. That excited me,”

If we had to pick out three artworks from what we saw at APT, David Riley, Aly Helyer and David Minton got our attention and our curiosity excited.

David Ryley‘s work using some very 2.0 mediums such as a digital photo frame and or twitter who makes him a very cutting-edge and interesting artist to observe. We particularly liked his work “Twitter user names: coded and transcribed – TUNC” (c)2013  which consists of  printed A4 office paper, printed on an office inkjet printer, connected into a continuous record using binding combs. Hung using a steel rod and steel eyelets. 300mm x 1800mm x 20mm (variable, will grow). You cannot get more current than that!

While social media channels are becoming part of out lives, and can even take over then, we understood here why Jane Boyer included this piece in her show as a witness of the ‘ME’ in a social interaction phenomena.

Credits: This ME Of Mine
Credits: This ME Of Mine

Aly Helyer‘s ‘Strange Fruit‘ (c)2007  ink on paper  67 x 101 cm mesmerised us and took us to many places. Look at it again and you seem to perceive things, or are they faces or just thoughts. Thoughts of the artist, maybe not so happy but that reminded us that the ‘ME’ is before deep inside all of us.

Aly Helyer-strange-fruit-1 Aly Helyer-strange-fruit-2

David Minton‘s Peripheral Vision (c)2010  oil on canvas  152.4 x 121.9 cm calmed us and reminded us of the simplicity of the ME sometimes. It can be everything and then nothing anymore.

Credits: This  ME of mine
Credits: This ME of mine


This ‘Me’ of Mine showcases work by: Aly Helyer, Edd Pearman, Jane Boyer, Darren Nixon, Hayley Harrison, Melanie Titmuss, Annabel Dover, Kate Murdoch, David Minton, Anthony Boswell, David Riley, Sandra Crisp, Sarah Hervey, Shireen Qureshi, and Cathy Lomax.

Strange Cargo|Georges House Gallery

Georges House
8 The Old High Street
Kent CT20 1RL
12 April to 7 May 2013
PV 12 April, 6-9pm
Mon to Sat, 10 to 5pm

Social Organisation of Appearances

Death To Me, Death To Everyone, (c)2008 Edd Pearman
Death To Me, Death To Everyone, (c)2008 Edd Pearman

“The concept of ‘the spectacle’ interrelates and explains a wide range of seemingly unconnected phenomena. The apparent diversities and contrasts of the phenomena stem from the social organisation of appearances, whose essential nature must itself be recognised. Considered in its own terms, the spectacle is an affirmation of appearances and an identification of all human social life with appearances. But a critique that grasps the spectacle’s essential character reveals it to be a visible negation of life – a negation that has taken on a visible form.”[1]

Guy Debord from Society of the Spectacle

This Me Of Mine ! Art-Pie
Whilst I Breathe, I Hope, (c)2011 Edd Pearman

I didn’t have to delve far into Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle to find what I was hoping to find. This quote by Debord states the nature of the spectacle as an affirmation of ‘appearance’, while a critical look at spectacle reveals the spectacle to be a ‘negation of life’. This is the very essence of what Edd Pearman explores in his work. “Duality has a strong influence throughout my work, each work maintains a two-fold characteristic in its content i.e. Humour and horror, life and death, hope and despair.  All initially appear to embody one intention, yet possess in equal measure, opposite qualities,” says Edd.

Appearance is seductive – and deadly. Is that a hyperbolic statement for effect? Possibly, but think of all the little deaths you’ve experienced for the sake of appearance and you may find you agree with me.

Read more of our interview, False Together, for This ‘Me’ of Mine.


[1] Debord, Guy, Society of the Spectacle, trans. Ken Knabb, Rebel Press, London, pg.9