Geir Svansson : Remembran(c)es — Poessays into reality and memory

Thóra Sigurðardóttir´s work, Knabstrup Kulturfabrik, Denmark, 2003.

The first word that comes to mind when viewing Þóra Sigurðardóttir´s work Physical recollections, is “membrane”: that which divides and protects but also that which touches and connects. The membrane on the floor with innards and “out(w)ards”; the skin on the walls (and mappings of surfaces), the membrane of fat and hairs in the bathwater — our interface with “hard” reality. And further, in the membrane (the skin, the surface) memory resides: “touch” whether direct, olifactory or audio-visual is the media that saves experience into memory.

The house (the habitat) — the house of memories— with all its tactile surfaces and facets hails memories, remembrances; of texture, density, hue, covers, smell, and undertones that the skin, and membranes in ear and eye sifts into memory. Virtual remembran(c)es.

The projected “housetexts” draw attention, not only to the perceived world, but also to drives, desires and needs. Most of the human needs are represented in respective texts: for food, sleep and shelter but also, and not to a lesser extent, aesthetical, intellectual and ethical needs.

The works on the walls, on the floor and in the air (the sound) recall the eternal tug of nature and culture, body and mind. The “low” innards, either covered by membrane or not, remindful either of organs or food, form the foundation and draw out, in themselves and in the other works, opposites, that may prove to be congruent as well.

It is not just that texture of surfaces are mediated to memory by skin and membrane; the membrane and skin leaves residues on (real) surfaces, inscribing the memory of us on it or in it — the residue in the bathwater does not simply consist of undefined fat and hairs but contains data about who we are, were and could become. In this way we are, in a profound sense, one with the surface, with hard reality, the world, nature. The ever-unchanging sound of water (and time) is the undertone of eternity (and physics?), not necessarily with religious overtones.

The scales in Thora’s work emphasize the surfaces that we find and sense constantly, without giving them much conscious thought. The “sleek” floor proves to be endlessly varied, almost fractal, and not unlike a chart of the stars in the sky. The universe is (also) in the interface, the membrane, the skin.
Memory and remembrance in Thora’s work somehow makes our experience of reality ethical and in it, just like in membrane, hair and hide, there resides data, and perhaps interpellation for responsibility, for unborn generations …