Artists Statement Tess Campbell
I went back to the family farm on the Avon Plains, established by free settlers Colin and Mary Campbell in 1870. These people are my descendants. I thought about your death. I was trying to find myself, or, rather, locate myself. But I could not find the source. It was not there. The farm, along with the rest of the world, had changed irrecoverably. After five generations, it is no longer a working farm. The living generations had escaped to the city while multinational companies gradually bought up the land.
I thought about your death and the pictures I took at your funeral. In this small country town in central Victoria your death finally felt real but also absent. This body, my body, which comes after you, who roams after you, was still attempting to locate itself. I went to the Campbell graves, and took a selfie. You were lost to me in the moment.
I wonder what I was trying to prove. Perhaps I was simply reminding myself that I am still alive. How do I reconcile my living state with my inevitable death? I considered the society in which I exist, and how it evolved from the free settlers to the city dwellers. It seemed brutal, out of control, purely driven by profit and prosperity. A vicious cycle fuelled by the lives and deaths which it receives and discards, and by those it has stolen from and forced upon us. I am hinged to it, dependent as a living organism. I cannot deny my part in this trajectory.
I try to remind myself that despite the gravity of the situation, the state of world, and these barbaric systems, I will continue to exist because I am living. In living I accept what is my due: the irreversible fact of our own mortality and death.
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Artists Statement Samuel Mountford
‘Legacy Contact’ is a post-mortem feature offered by Facebook which allows users to ‘pass on’ responsibility for their social media account to another, living user.
‘Legacy Contact’ is a meditation on the performance and particularity of memory.Over the course of five months, while living and travelling in Europe, various acts of remembrance were observed, documented and staged. Within the final film, the nar- rator’s attempts to communicate with a dead friend results in a confusion of identities and timelines, and the dependency of memory on its infrastructures is brought intoquestion. The local historical figure of Count Graf von Zeppelin comes to embody this tension between personal narrative and collective fiction, present action and nationalmemory.
During the process of making the film I reflected on ‘the tourist’s gaze’, and the fun- damental distance it acknowledges between the viewer and their surroundings. The technologically-aided act of remembering also requires such a distance, assuming a pre-emptive objectivity towards the present moment. Memories are then retroactivelyassigned their future significance through a conscious process of selection.
“...the thing with icons, after all, is that they evoke nothing. The icon is the very oppo- site of...those totemic triggers that suddenly abduct you into the past...(that) can onlymanage this time-snatching function because it has avoided museumification andmemorialisation, stayed out of the photographs, been forgotten in a corner.”
(Fisher, Ghosts of My Life)