MEMORIES FROM A STRANGER

 

These photographs are documentation from the project ”Memories from a stranger” (Minnen från en främling), exhibited at Jönköpings läns museum 31/1-22/3-2015.

The project consists of a jukebox that, instead of songs, plays memories. These memories have been donated to me anonymously during an exhibition at Kulturhuset (Stockholm, 2013). I then made recordings of people reading them. ”Memories from a stranger” was supported by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee.

The project is interactive. You make the selection, and the jukebox will play it back for you. In this exhibition I am also requesting the visitors to share their own memories, and in the future they may find them in the jukebox.

The project continues…

 

Excerpts from my work diary during the project

”Memories from a Stranger”

 

4th August 2013.

I am in Stockholm to collect the last pile of the memory collection at Kulturhuset. Earlier today I saw a woman who was writing a memory and I saw her leave the written note to the collection. After I had emptied the collection I saw her again, in the same carriage as I, on the train to Gothenburg. She didn’t know that it was to me that she had left her memory, and I didn’t know which of the memories (located on the shelf in a bag just above her head) that was from her.

 

20th November 2013.

I’ve been thinking about buying a jukebox that I have spotted. It is the only CD jukebox that is up for sale. The seller writes me, ”Just to let you know, there is a guy in Kumla with a nostalgic coffee shop who wants the box too,” and that makes me act. The idea is to fill the jukebox with the memories from the collection. Two thousand tracks can fit in the jukebox in total. It could become quite an archive…and an eternal project. Like images (in the form of sounds) that depending on witch ones you combine, form different contexts and meanings. Just like photographs.

 

4th December 2013.

Today I sat in the studio and divided the memory notes into categories after who will get to read them: woman, old woman, man, old man, boy, girl.

 

5th December 2013.

Today I looked through yesterday’s piles of divided memories again and tried to identify the ones where I truly knew that the writer belongs to the category that I divided them into earlier. It turned out to be only 6 out of 200. It was my brain that created the categories, not the ones who wrote them. I mixed all the piles into a big one again. It doesn’t matter. They will transform anyway.

 

9th February 2014.

Some of the notes are so horrible. I remove the horrible ones and I also remove the ridiculous ones.

 

15th April 2014.

I changed my mind and took back one of the most horrible notes, and most of the ridiculous ones too.

 

10th May 2014.

”It is a bit quiet because I’m unhappy and confused and lonely”

”It is a bit quiet because I’m unhappy and confused”

I found these two notes placed in sequence in the pile. Two different notes, different handwriting, and with different continuation…

 

1st September 2014.

I have started using Miriam’s playhouse as a sound studio for my recordings. I have built a little hut with blankets around it and mounted up torches inside. I am always a bit embarrassed when I ask the readers to crawl in there. They are all too big, and Hanna, who recorded today, turned out to be pregnant. I kept the hut until Miriam came home from kindergarten. I told her that there’s a surprise at home. I said that I had built her a hut.

 

20th November 2014.

I came to think of my grandmother today when I was looking through the notes. Thought of her squiggly handwriting. How the handwritten carries memories. Best score in penmanship! One time, before she died, she wrote me the entire alphabet in capital letters. That could be the title perhaps… her writing in neon. But red or blue?

 

A selection of the notes that I collected during the project:

(click to enlarge)

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