Prosthetic Memories

This suite of monoprints is based on personal memories collected during interviews with older Americans (over the age of 70). Interview participants were asked for their personal associations – what they remember, what they were doing, what was going on in their lives – in relation to four major historical events: WWII, the assassination of JFK, the Apollo 11 moon landing, and the events of September 11th.

The term “prosthetic memory” comes from Alison Landsberg’s research culminating in her 2004 book, Prosthetic Memory: The Transformation of American Remembrance in the Age of Mass Culture, which examines how historical events and cultural memory are assimilated as personal experience through exposure to the technologies of mass culture. I realized through this project that these are also assimilated through simple oral culture, in this case through one-on-one sharing, during the interviews I conducted and the images I made. Through this process, both the historical events and the personal experiences of the people I interviewed have become my own prosthetic memories.

Read the catalog essay by Jessica Baran here.

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