Over 40 people registered for this second seminar with C&M{2} artists Maxine Bristow, Hannah Leighton-Boyce and Karina Thompson. The theme of the event was ‘What do we remember and how do we remember it?’

Karina and Hannah both spoke about the importance of the body in the processes of remembering and how they have used this in their work for the exhibition. The translation of their physical engagement with the space and place into a material form as a reconstructed memory of that experience. It was interesting to realise that Hannah’s camera obscura works, once removed from the space at the end of the exhibition, would only exist as a memory. Karina described how, on first entering the space, she had wanted to run in a free childlike way through the room, while Hannah was immediately drawn to the walls and the gaps in the walls. Maxine spoke of our understanding of memory as providing a continuity with the past and the actuality of the imprecise nature of memory and the mutability of materials, particularly cloth.

The discussion moved on to the difference between remembering and remembrance, and which of the works in the exhibition represented these two aspects of memory. This led to a discussion concerning the discovery of the unspun alpaca found by Hannah in the wall cavities which represented trace elements of those who had worked in the room, an embodiment of Hannah’s work within the space and a memorial to the activity. Questions were raised about the objects which had also been found in the cavities, by Hannah and by Jeanette Appleton and the ethics of removing them. Hannah described how, in the first instance, the discovery was unlooked for, and suggestions about ‘suggestibility’ and openess/readiness to ideas and experience were discussed. The porous nature of memory and cloth was also discussed at this point, how both can operate as a membrane for experience: a membrane, as Richard Sennett maintains operates as a living edge between outside/inside, or in this case between ‘then’ and ‘now’.

We also discussed the triggers for memory: smell, touch, images. And finally June Hill, co-organiser of Cloth & Memory {2}, spoke about the roof space once the exhibition has been removed. She described it as returning the space to how it was before but with the memory of the works staying there alongside all the other memories that exist within this particular space.

Lesley Millar