MEMORY PRACTICE MANIFESTO / MING-ZHU HII
Memory Practice is simple.
It is simultaneously complex.
It is fragmented.
It is whole.
It goes deep, quickly.
It is subtle. It is minimal. It is rigorous.
It is poetic. It is considered. It is incisive.
It is brutal. It is opulent. It is transcendent.
It is existential. It is surreal. It is hyperreal.
It is ancient. It is futuristic. It is mythical.
It is elemental. It is metaphysical. It is vibrational.
It is gritty. It is analogue. It is visceral.
It is an amplification of minutiae.
It is image dreamt, breath felt, phrase half-forgotten.
It is poetically reflexive (it knows it is not real life).
It is seemingly random and not at all random.
It is black and white. Monochrome.
Whiter than white.
You have to squint to see it.
And then it resolves.
And the blood is so red
and the ocean such a perfect midnight blue
that you suddenly weep for the terror and beauty of it.
It is grainy. Obscured. Found footage. Archival.
It is fragmented. Half dream. Broken. Discarded.
It is rediscovered and pieced together not randomly but neither chronologically.
A meaning is forged from something
that from the outside resembles chaos.
But from the inside
Memory Practice has its aesthetic roots in the poetic and expresses itself in multiple forms. These include (but are not limited to):
- cinema (primary form)
- video art (primary form)
- installation (primary form)
- printed text (secondary form)
- performance (secondary form)
- still photography (secondary form)
- audio recordings (secondary form)
Each short work should regard itself as a poem.
A larger work or related group of works should regard itself as a poem cycle.
The work is not bound by an industrial model.
The work is not bound by the demands of an existing market.
It self-sustains and becomes its own industry - its own reason for being. The work amplifies itself and cultivates an audience by virtue of being itself.
The work should be able to be made autonomously of outside financial intervention.
If at any point should significant external financing become available, the work should be conceived of aesthetically and philosophically that should the funds suddenly fall away, the work could still be made.
The artist should initiate and drive the work, and practice independently where appropriate.
The team of collaborators should be kept to a minimum.
A culture of family, peerage and shared language should be cultivated within the team.
The artist should always remain the one who holds the vision and takes responsibility for the work.
The artist should develop robust and rigorous models for working with the collaborators individually.
The artist should develop robust and rigorous models for all elements of her practice independently.
Time spent in artistic discovery, composition and performance development should be prioritised.
Costs expended on the tools to create the work should be kept to a minimum.
Manipulation of cinematic and video media (beyond cutting and assembly) in post-production should also be kept to a minimum unless specifically called for by the work.
The artist should develop the requisite technical skills to hold and generate the core, basic needs of the work at all stages of production, in order for the work to remain self-sufficient where necessary.
The artist should develop a core, essential stock of tools with which to create the work, not allowing for superfluity, wastage or redundancy of components.
Skills and tools should only ever be regarded as containers for the work of intuition.
Intuition is the work’s primary resource, and is the core condition of Memory Practice.
Memory Practice is not concerned with pleasing anyone.
It is concerned with unsettling.
It is concerned with moving beyond ideology.
It is concerned with disturbing the quotidian.
It is concerned with the ambiguous.
It is concerned with the unanswerable.
It is concerned with the unaskable.
It is always concerned with the precipice.
Ming-Zhu Hii - May, 2016