As I mentioned I grew up in Mauritius and left at around the age of 8 in rather dramatic circumstances. To leave that unspoilt island paradise to a grey suburb in Birmingham leaving my father behind was a rupture.
I returned with my mother to Mauritius (who I had been estranged from for some years) to make a work in which she looked for a house that we lived in, that I had no memory of at all. Although I can remember in detail the two other houses we had. I felt that there was some blockage or trauma connected to this missing house. We never found the missing house.
The return however was phenomenal – but memory was strange. I could not immediately recognise things it came slowly as I walked around – it felt literally like my brain was looking for a neural pathway that had broken off through lack of use – a thought was rummaging around through a billion connections to locate itself – then in finding it sending a charge that struggled through it – which pulsed and fired and then suddenly the whole memory returned – but it was hardly ever instantaneous (it built like a wave). With the exception of a tree on the beach that I have always remembered. I used to love to sit in it and watch the ant colony moving over it. My feeling to find the little tree was ecstatic. The smell was the transcendental emotional trigger. I felt that – although this is hard to explain – that this tree and me were always connected – waiting for one another. Even as I write I fear for the tree but feel it is there. We are entangled the tree and me.
We are both wearing anchors around our necks.
31st March 2017
Dear Gunnlaug, further to my previous post, this is the work I made about the return to Mauritius -it charts my inability to speak as a child and my later desire to become a camera – using my mouth to make images where words would normally form. The work is set in model of Eddison's first film studio – a kind of temple to the moment at which the movement of the still image began. Later in the film – in an act of extramission I eventually became a projector.
31st March 2017
Dear Lindsay, thank you for your melodic words and images. My memories of Burma seem to be capsuled in moments, episodes og sensory impressions, and in my mind they form a fata morgana like a glowing golden pagoda translucent in late afternoon heat that i can never properly reach. I know what i try to formulate is entangled and influenced by images I have seen and anecdotes and information from other people. However, there some clear impressions from the blistering tropical heat and vibrant colours that I can recall; mostly running barefoot around the garden with my sister, chasing butterflies, picking mangoes, weaving small baskets of banana leaves, stringing jasmine flowers into necklaces, spying on the transvestite neighbour thus ripping up my lip on barbed wire, getting bitten in the neck by a dog and almost dying. I remember the smell of the earth when the monsoon breaks and the thrill of catching the tiny frogs that appeared with the relief of the first rains. Then there was the world outside – mostly seen at a distance through a car window. Occasionally being in a public space but being held at a distance and discouraged to interact with other children. Being stared at and sometimes touched by hands curious to feel blond hair or white skin. These are just a few impressions! I will write more later.
17th April 2017
A list of words:
Destruction of the environment
The natural world
Family history (Burma)
Svalbard and seed bank
Legacies of colonialism
Locating ones self