Judith G. Levy

Memory cloud

Memory Cloud
“The past is never dead, it’s not even past” — William Faulkner

My work is about history, culture, identity and remembrance. Memory Cloud explores the explicit and elusive nature of private and public memory. My most recent installation of this work is currently included in Memory Theatre at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY.

Each Memory Cloud is comprised of hundreds of small, plastic, souvenir viewers that each hold a unique 35mm slide. This first souvenir viewer that I’d ever seen was the one that was given to me to commemorate a family visit to a dude ranch, when I was a teenager. The slides in this work are from my collection of thousands of found images of Midwest life taken from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. The plastic viewers hang on metal chain to form a very large cloud. This installation explores how photography helps to capture and preserve memories and provokes museum attendees to retrieve memories of their own. Some of the plastic viewers are out of reach and represent memories that cannot be recalled, while other plastic viewers allow partial glimpses of the photos inside to acknowledge the elusive nature of some memories. The viewers that are within reach can be held up to the light to see clear images inside, and they honor the individual experience of remembering.

The effort to create memories via photographs acknowledges our desire to transform experience into something that can be retrieved at a later date. Photographic images, even those depicting the most ordinary events, play a significant role in creating individual identity and affirming cultural heritage. Memories often become more powerful, when they are shared with others. Many of the photos demonstrate how ordinary moments feel extraordinary to the person taking the picture, even if the photo is badly lit or poorly composed.

The pleasure and pain of remembering remain an integral part of human experience. We grieve memory loss, both in ourselves and in those we love, in the belief that forgetting robs us of our humanity.



One thought on “Judith G. Levy

  1. This piece, “Memory Cloud” is a profoundly poetic idea that we capture images constantly in order to reconnect with a moment or a memory in our lives. To see every slide hanging in a gallery is as if we are literally walking through someone’s life. The fact that the images are suspended as a cloud makes me feel as though the viewers can see parts of someone’s life, however not all of their life, the images suspended higher in the cloud could be representational of a moment in time too special to share or too difficult to explain and I think there is enormous amounts of beauty in keeping the viewer questioning. This piece is very timeless and special and it overall looks so delicate and beautiful, I am so very impressed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s