my family (2001)

My Family originated in a junk store in Toronto several years ago. At that time Toronto was becoming new home to me. While looking through the repository of local artifacts, I came across a pile of old photographs. I bought about twenty group portraits and put them on the shelf close to my kitchen table. My friends thought that the people on the photographs were my family. I wouldn't correct them. On the contrary, it was fun to name the strangers and to make up stories about their lives.

Before very long I realised that the pictures from the junk store replaced in my memory the images of my relatives left behind in my country of origin. Based on that experience My Family is intended to emphasize fragility of human memory. At the same time, the work reflects on documentary qualities of digitally produced documents. While visiting this website, ...

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My Family originated in a junk store in Toronto several years ago. At that time Toronto was becoming new home to me. While looking through the repository of local artifacts, I came across a pile of old photographs. I bought about twenty group portraits and put them on the shelf close to my kitchen table. My friends thought that the people on the photographs were my family. I wouldn't correct them. On the contrary, it was fun to name the strangers and to make up stories about their lives.

Before very long I realised that the pictures from the junk store replaced in my memory the images of my relatives left behind in my country of origin. Based on that experience My Family is intended to emphasize fragility of human memory. At the same time, the work reflects on documentary qualities of digitally produced documents. While visiting this website, one has to complete a data search-like procedures and make choices. These actions will determine the factual elements of the stories and the appearance of the photographic material.

In terms of structure and contents, My Family is an online interactive mirror of Brothers and Sisters, an exhibition of paper based photography and text. Both works comprise the same photographs and real stories combined into ambiguous statements. Even though each piece has a life on its own and neither is a prerequisite to the other, experiencing My Family in proximity to Brothers and Sisters intensifies the sense of loss caused by the fact that the progress of digital technologies has deprived us of photographic image and written text as tangible documents of our lives.

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