In this photograph taken in the halls of European Historical Art 1699 – 1799 at the NGV, the subject and content of the art itself is crucial in it’s own right, however the experience the viewership of the art provides is another component in which meaning is conveyed, whether it be the geographical location, the setting, the persons viewing the art, and more abstractly when the piece is being viewed. Each of these variables alters the meaning and message communicated, and as time passes the relevance and significance of the message changes, and as such, “the concept of collective memory rests upon the assumption that every social group develops a memory of its past; a memory that emphasises its uniqueness and allows it to preserve the self image and pass it on to future generations.” (Neiger, Meyers, Zandberg, 2011, p.4) Collective Memory can be defined as the relationship between an individual and the community, in that the community is able to create and maintain mean upon its existence. This collective memory is a driving force that repeatedly drives practitioners to both emulate and differentiate their work from the collective in recognition of popular and mainstream media content, and looking further historically into media content as it changes form and context fundamentally alters our relationship with historic records.
In the piece responding to Old media inspires new media, I considered the contemporary context in which an audience interprets old media, and while I was originally considering placing a contemporary media artefact or practice in the frame as the focus of the image, I decided that the unfilled space of the iconic Photoshop grid would convey the intention much more effectively, in that the concept of memory can be altered and always been altered through graphic representations both historical and contemporary, as much like an artist changing the scene, dialogue, or context of an event in his art, “if a photograph’s value lies in it’s ability to locate us in a specific time and place, does the process of digital manipulation change the historical significance of an archival photograph?” (Miller, 2012, p.2) Digital manipulation is no different from the visual manipulation of historical records, and as such this collective memory of events can easily be altered or instilled at the practitioner’s will, and such the narrative of media, and mirroring history in that “what it is to be human has continued to be reshaped by technological intervention and other transformations in our world, artists have grappled with such change by re-imagining and reformulating the medium.” (Hinkson, 2016, p.4)
Neiger, M, Meyers, O, Zandberg, Eyal, P, 2011, On Media Memory: Collective Memory in a New Media Age, Palsgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, England
Miller, B, 2012, When Old Media Was New: Learning from the Past, Archiving for the Future, Temple University, Pennsylvania, USA
Hinkson, M, 2016, Imaging Identity: Media, Memory and Portraiture in the Digital Age, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia