Memory Bytes

My first artistic project, Memory Bytes, is about revenge, memories and the art of letting go. Follow me through the dark of the night as I rid myself of my past and mature in the process.  

Last edited: November 21, 2014

Trash container filled with old love letters

For years I kept love letters from ex-partners. I also kept notes from friends; tickets and “souvenirs” from travels; and other pieces and bits that reminded me of a day in my life that I wished to remember.

I thought many times of doing something creative with these memory boxes, but didn’t know what.

And then this year, as soon as I decided to be an artist for a month, I quickly came up with an idea.

The memorabilia would play the main role in what was to become my first artistic project, Memory Bytes.

The ideas behind Memory Bytes

Idea #1: Revenge and the digitalization of memories

The initial idea that I had for Memory Bytes was to photograph every piece of paper, letter or object and to then display these photos in a (online) gallery–making for a very private and dramatic showpiece.

The emotions and questions that I wished to explore by showcasing this sheer amount of photos were the following:

1. Should we hold on to old love letters?
2. To whom do love letters belong once a relationship has ended?
3. Is it morally justifiable to publicly display love letters from ex-partners and notes from ex-friends?
4. In an ever-changing digital world, what form and place does the love letter take? And what do memories look like?

As soon as I started photographing each letter and object, it became clear that this was going to be a very time consuming task. It felt wrong to be spending that amount of time in my past.

A wave of observations and essential lessons came over me. They turned my thinking and emotions upside down and I quickly abandoned the idea of photographing and displaying the memorabilia for the whole world to see.

Idea #2: The art of letting go

While going through the memorabilia, I noticed that my mind had rewritten complete happenings and even erased some of them. What I saw was not what I remembered.

It was strange to go through these boxes. It was as if I was going through someone else’s diary. That life and those memories no longer belonged to me.

Once I realized this, the hurt from the past dissolved. I no longer felt any need for any form of revenge. I was able to just let go of my past and my memories.

This experience brought me to a more mature and graceful idea for Memory Bytes.

Through a series of 4 pictures, shot in the dark of the night, the viewer follows a woman as she carries a trash bag to a trash container. In the 5th picture we get to see that the woman threw away her old love letters and other memorabilia from her past. 

Picture no.1: Young woman walking with trash bag in hand and picture no.2: Young woman putting old love letters in a trash bag

Picture no.1: Young woman throwing old love letter in a trash container and Picture no.2: Young woman walking down the street

Trash container filled with old love letters

The shoot was done by night to make it look like the woman is getting rid of something secret.

The woman in the pictures is me.

I wanted to be the model in the pictures, because it only seemed right that I would be the one “getting rid of my past”. Also, this gave me the chance to express myself in yet another creative way.

I chose for a fancy skirt and high heels because I like the contrast it casts between dressing up and taking out the trash. It also adds a touch of drama to the atmosphere.

The outfit, furthermore, makes it look like the woman is on her way to a party. I wanted to emphasize the ease of which she lets go of her past and to hint to her present and future.

In case you are wondering: the memorabilia was left in the trash container. And I, once done with the shoot, walked with my present and future to a dinner party.

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Tell me what you think. Connect with me on FacebookTwitter or Instagram (links match discussion pages for this post) and let me know: What do you think about my first artistic project? What does it signify to you? What meaning do you find in the title Memory Bytes? 

 


THANKS

To photographer Arnej Misirlić for taking the pictures for Memory Bytes.

FURTHER READING

Find out what it’s like to be an artist for a month.