Residency Unlimited (RU), New York - 2015

Work plan of Anna Fabricius


At first glance, memory is something that is purely intimate, personal, located in the mind of the individual. In contrast to personal memory, in connection with the culture of memory i.e. collective memory it is always the same question that arises: What is it that a community mustn’t forget? What would a society be like without these images of memory?

There is a strong link between memory, identity, and the establishment of tradition. Common experiences, memories, and symbols that help recall them create a common sphere of action. In addition to the common rules and values it is this memory that makes it possible that a community refer to itself as ‘WE’.

New York as special location has had many traumatic events throughout its history that can serve as a strong breeding ground for collective memory, not only in a local sense but globally as well (immigrants disembarking here, 9/11).

My research and interest focus on groups of people, couples, friends or family members, whose stories contribute to the collective and communicative memory. By their account, helps us immerse more deeply into the story.

Often it is very difficult to talk about these traumas alone, so I make an attempt to create the story according to the rules of a verbal improvisation game, where the people relating their stories complete each other’s stories. (Attached please find my video work entitled Rational queries the Regular – which is based on the similar association game. I asked workers from the same workplace to speak about their job. They had to complete each other’s sentences by adding one word to an incomplete sentence said by the other so that the resulting sentences would make sense.

Through this game I try to explore not only the collective memory, but also through collective storytelling perhaps I can help give a much more complex understanding of the story. This game requires great concentration and attention to each other, which on the one hand reinforces collectivity, and on the other hand enhances the game by itself – as construction – helps participants escape from traumatic memories.

We should keep in mind that their memories are our memories as well.

For my research and creating the video works I would like to apply for the support of RUresidency.