Motor memory : reworking the past : a thesis (or dissertation, etc.) presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters in Fine Arts at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
Taking my own personal history as a starting point this paper will look at how
we inherit culture and in turn shape it through the stories and objects that
drive its formation. This extends into how these objects proliferate within our
culture and the way in which the passing of History impacts on the way we
view them and as a consequence ourselves as individuals and as a group.
Identity is then passed on through generations through the act of storytelling,
and this process is integral to this research paper.
This is also a personal journey, taking place in varying sites, from a rusting
car hulk in a back yard in North Canterbury, to a University in Wellington and
another rusted car, which has gone through a strange restoration. The Morris
Minor has been embraced as a narcissistic object that I have chosen to double
in order to explore my individual and wider national cultural history and
One of the key themes of this inherited identity is largely based around
Nostalgia for an ideal past. This ideal is a fiction, a layering of intended
futures as well as a selective past. This works in the same way as the modern
artistic preoccupation with gothic histories, but instead of a positive ideal we
have the creation of a basement of horrors that lurks beneath the surface. Be
it positivist idealism or Gothic inversion, one way of focusing on the way these
fictions differ markedly from the reality of the objects existence, is to show
the artifice of the stories told by enhancing the components of the story that
are already exaggerated, for the Morris Minor this means getting as far away
from its existence as a rusting hulk in the backyard as possible.
The longing for a past that may or may not exist, is less important as existing
in reality but instead for what these fictions supply in their retelling. The
concept of the Uncanny is integral to this retelling of memory, in that through
a memories reanimation it can only approximate the original event leaving
gaps for circumspection and invention. This retelling necessitates a
reorientation in the relationship between the teller of the tale and the listener
and between the viewer and the object viewed.
The research culminates in the alteration of a Morris Minor to appear as one
continuous surface. The intention of which is to engage with the differing
versions of the objects past through taking an active part in its reconstruction
as artwork with the aim of reassessment not only of my individual approach
to the object but also the viewers.