Author: Cormick, J.Mc. (2007). Impact Conference Paper.
Excavating The Present: The Archaeology of Visual Residue, Fragmentation and Meaning
I live and work in Northern Ireland, which at the moment is in a state of transitional 'becoming'. There is currently an extensive discourse on resolving our past, in order to embrace and construct a new future. One of the more interesting regeneration projects is the plan to build a second part of the city called the 'Titanic' Quarter, which refers back to the use of the dock land on which the Titanic was built. It's a very good example of how we reference a 'selective', past to create the future, in the case of the Titanic Quarter, concentrating on the engineering feat of building the ship, instead of the tragic fate of the Titanic.
'The stories we tell ourselves about who we are - the half remembered events and places which shape our lives - are the foundations on which we build up a sense of self. Re - working what has already happened, we also give it current meaning, for history always represents the present as much as the past' (Betterton 173)
So it's not surprising that my visual practice is concerned with the need to position and 're-present' my personal experience within an historical context. This reading of my practice fluctuates between a contemporary and a possible future / historical reading. Within the word 're-present', there is this notion of recovery and analysis, not unlike the role of an archeologist. And it is interesting to note that this notion of recovery and analysis is also at the heart of the society in which I live. It seems that we are all re presenting our selves defined by our 'selective' past and future hopes. We are all to some extent excavating our present, caught in a state of becoming and never arriving.
As an artist I am interested in the concept of 'Liquid Modernity'. 'Liquid Modernity', is a term proposed by Bauman (2000 1 - 15) which refers to the fluid state of the human condition experienced at this present moment in time. Using 'Liquidity' as a metaphor for a new critique of modernity. Zygmunt Bauman (2000) redefines and explores concepts which have previously been used to frame the 'human narrative such as emancipation, individuality, time/space, work, and community', though the notion that everything is melting, flowing and being 'liquified'. With regard to social interrelations, he believes that we are becoming nomadic rather than subscribing to belong within solid social and life politic networks.