We (now) make a history out of our detritus

by Davide Meneghello

It was a family meeting; it was a swim in the communal pool; it was a holiday in a foreign country. You were gathered next to one another in front of the lens of a camera. Something special was happening that day, or maybe not. I cannot know. These are not my memories, but yours.

I have find you, memories of other, on a table, as a lost object. Looking through your transparent surface between my hands and the sunlight, I have met all of you: Unknown people, objects, landscape present in a series of domestic photographs.

I choose to rescue you, to pose an end to your dispersion, bits of a more general diaspora of memories and private archives, as any collector animated from a drive of curiosity and attraction for what has been wasted, displaced, lost. And as any collector, with the hope of finding a magical presence into the sea of things left behind.
Lost memories on a table of Princess May Road, detritus of the photographic economy (Enzewor, 2008) which provoke feelings of fascination from its ethnographic meaning, evidence of the anthropological change, and for its visual diversity, in its technical anachronism.

Memory as Detritus, you will (here) become a platform to re-make history. Your dispersion of involuntary nature have brought you together in a chaotic arrangement, without caring about any classification, chronological or familiar unity, as an anarchy of traces and a disassembly of a more systematic entity.

Your diaspora allowed the accidental reconstruction of new archives, based on randomness and loose connections, where unexpected touches between gelatines open ways for new meetings, reconfigurations and ironies.
So now, displaced memories, unite to other experiences, to other spots in an improvised and heterogeneous archive of lost time, you become a tableaux for new pictorial compositions, associations and palinsèsto, surface after surface where our recent history can be read and re-imagined.

You are beginning to live again, rescued in the coagulation of new colour and shades, of surreal possibility, looking for the magic in a series of everydays past, because as Sontag’s lines remind us, at the end “any collection of photographs is an exercise in surrealist montage and the surrealist abbreviation of history.”(1977)

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