Documentation through memory

The process of documenting through memory is for me a quick and dirty practice of abstraction. Where abstraction in my process refers to experimentation specifically with composing a space using the tools of scenographic design (light, sound, movement). Documentation from memory is a more open method to dissecting the core of an atmosphere - that can then be translated spatially. By already understanding the core of an atmosphere I hope to more precisely be able to abstract through design, and so give myself more time/energy to focus on the position of the spectator.

As I said before the process of documentation through memory is free, quick, and dirty. It can be drawing, writing, dancing, sculpting, etc. anything that can act as a creative supporting statement for an atmosphere.

One striking example of how this can be achieved is with Director Alex Garland in his adaption of Annihilation(2018).

By adapting the film from memory rather than re-reading the book, Garland was able to capture the atmosphere of the story. Far more interesting and honest than a direct adaption. 

Indirectly addaptingmy own documentation of a stopping point(the atmosphere I have an urgenct to share) also supports my hesitancy to the word re-creation. It is in my philosphical opinion that re-creating a moment in time is not possible and therefore futile. I have no interest in re-creation, and find indirect adpatation so much more rich with feeling, questions, and possibilites. In his doctorate thesis Richard Shearing makes a powerful statement on the physicallity of immersion. This same statement can be read from the perspective of direct and non direct adaptation. What is at the core of a memory/and immersion? It is not the scene directly, but the forces withing a scene that makes it unique to that particular experience. 

"Garland stated that it was the “very, very powerful strange atmosphere” of the novel that he was drawn to above anything else. “The reading of the book is a little bit like having a dream,” he says in an interview with Google. Thus, a writing method as unpredictable, automatic, and spontaneous as a dream allowed him to create something as original as the source material, whilst still respecting and capturing the dreamy, hallucinatory atmosphere of the novel. Applying the faux-randomness of memory and the mind to his own process, Garland juices his film with a wild and unique dream logic that undulates through its peculiar narrative" 

Fedyk, Max. “Annihilation.”, 5 June 2018,

"The term ‘immersive’ has the danger of presenting the idea of a homogenous medium in which a body is saturated or engrossed; however, it would better to consider immersion as a heterogeneous concept (Ingold 2014). The sensation of feeling when immersed in the rain, for example, would depend on the fluctuating forces of the wind or the size of the raindrops; it is their distance, force and speed that give way to particular feelings and emotions. A heterogeneous immersion is the subjective experience of a set of specific conditions. What is needed in current discourse on immersive practice is a more nuanced understanding of how a participant body is situated and bound up within a rich complex performance environment"(Shearing, 21). 


The rendering of something into another language(here meaning medium or material).


Purpose 1: I use the word translation instead of recreation when I attempt to scenographically present a natural fleeting occurrence that I have documented. I find translation a more accurate word choice because recreation assumes a level of accuracy and transfer that I am not trying to achieve. This translation is the final outcome the secondary spectator sees. The Legend is a translation.


However, I think translation could also be used for another purpose.


Purpose 2: Translating as a way for the observer(me) to fictitiously rather than precisely document a natural fleeting occurrence. I had this thought whilst in a workshop about William Kentridge's Studio of the Less Good Idea. So far, I have been using exact measurement such as compass readings, angles of light, temperature, etc to gather documentation. I have also been writing which often gives a more personal state of mind to the documentation.

Can I document a natural fleeting occurrence using the concept of translation? i.e. can I use a different materials to translate the documentation in different art form (paint, drawing, writing, etc.) and add these translations to the documentation?

I'm hoping that the small translations I create before moving onto a larger one (The Legend) can open my mind to different options.

If presenting purpose 2 alongside the other documentation it is interesting to look at another definition of translation from mechanics: motion in which all particles of a body move with the same velocity along parallel paths. My documentation is already a form of this definition: different evidence for one occurrence that has the same claim to documenting a moment in time. They can be understood individually and as a document.