Location: Philadelphia , Pennsylvania, United States
In this work I confront the complexities of my Nana's dementia by fabricating the pieces that have gone missing. Within my Nana's mind, history and fiction collide, creating something strangely new, haunting and at times painfully beautiful. Ten years ago was now ten minutes ago. There were no seasons; the clocks stood still. My grandmother was both lost and reborn. Fragments of the person I used to know would come to me now and then, but she was no longer my Nana and there was no one to hold our familial history together. Evelyn Beckett was the gatekeeper, and she left her post. A new relationship began; once her grandson, I became an old friend. My mother, her only child, ultimately became a caregiver. Although I felt a profound loss, I also had a sense of a new friend. As we mined the archive of her life, I began to reconstruct and deconstruct all that was known to be true in an unconscious collaboration with Evelyn. In concert with her conflation and obfuscation, I also slide across media; as an artist, I invent, suggest and embrace possibility.
I have explored my Nana’s dementia by not only utilizing both images from my family archive and images of my own creation, but also working with sound. In these sound pieces, I mixed recordings of conversations that I had with her with found audio that was reminiscent of my childhood memories of my Nana. I think about each of these pieces as constructed conversation between Evelyn and me. These conversations are haunted by the specters of my childhood along with her own that resurfaced because of her dementia. The conversations were also haunted by the present and the future. While making them, I was dealing with the anxiety that I would never be her grandson again and that I and the rest of my family had to play new rolls in her life. Furthermore was my awareness of the approaching future of life without her, which is now the present.
Link to audio: https://willharris.co/relative-audio-wip