does not remember at all. Traumatic events such as death or abuse can cause great pain within a family structure. The memories associated with these events on a personal level are often fragmented and incomplete. A close family could discuss and reminisce and the discrepancies may diminish however in many cases these fragments of memories will remain just fragments.
The use of memory objects, or mementos, to remember people or events is a custom that holds great importance to many people from many different cultures. My mother has a lock of my hair she kept from my first haircut, I own a charm bracelet that for me holds the memories of all the people that gave me charms to put on it and in the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, widows wore their dead husbands skull suspended from their necks (Taylor, 1983). These varied objects are all kept as reminders of a person or event. In Sustaining Loss - Art and the Mournful Life (2001) Gregg Horowitz comments that such objects “are the most powerful testimonials to the profound forgetfulness of human beings” (p. 13). seems that our memory is not sufficient or long lasting enough to be trusted to remember lost loved ones or important times, that we need to create objects to outlast our memories and lives. These objects are not purely a prompt for the memory, but can hold a greater meaning within the context of remembrance. Isabel Allende’s grandfather said “Death does not exist: people only die when we forget them” (in Schacter, p. 95), and it seems to be because of this that mementos are so important. The fashioning of objects to remember the dead, aids in holding onto the deceased for longer, and in creating something permanent at a time when life seems so fleeting - life seems to have more meaning. The importance and relevance of memento mori are explored in Death, Memory and Material Culture (Hallam and Hockey, 2001). Hallam and Hockey argue that even the most mundane of objects can be “laden with perceptual recall” and can carry “socially shared meanings and histories through time and space” (Hallam & Hockey, 2001, pp. 49 - 50) through their ability to outlast those that originally owned them. Objects such as combs, hair, toys and clothes all have the potential to carry memory and meaning. Lury argues that memory and its related objects, such as photographs, are significant relays between private and public life - the act of displaying a photograph of a personal memory in a space such as a living room or hallway, moves the memory from the personal to the public. Objects and places not only continue the memory
Published on Jul 17, 2009
First Son is an exploration of cultural change in New Zealand from the 1940s till the 1980susing textiles as medium for communication. It ai...