Shauna McMullan

Do stones talk?


I sit here and have the ability to transcend the temporal space I occupy through the lens, screen and Internet, one can literally jump through distance and time whilst remaining static…..this affects something in the aesthetics of my memory. It also suggests that we should examine whether the aesthetic is moral or how aesthetics encounters ethical or political contexts. So, as we set off to locate or even tentatively experience, narrate or represent our world with all its intimacies, banalities and wonder we are inevitably going to end up in places that after the horrors and memories of recent histories we would perhaps rather not go. How an enquiry into “social memory” may be driven from within (our memories and imagination) coupled with the outside (social or political memory) asks how imagination and memory might locate and help us construct a conversation with the future. This need for an exchange of ideas I feel belongs to every culture and is particularly re-enforced by the tragic and complex recent world events unfolding before us. Though it is not a ‘thing’ or ‘commodity’ it is held within the process of dialogue.



‘Memory as organized matter’” as Hering conceives, is memory as a fundamental property of reproduction of organic beings. The nervous substance of any organism retains the traces of its experiences and hands them down as an inheritance to the following generations, just as we received in its turn a certain number of traces from the previous generations. Such process, materially connecting each single organism – from the most elementary organic entity, animal to man – to an infinite chain of previous and subsequent beings, is both constant and unconscious.  Therefore, each organic being is in front of us as a product of the unconscious memory of the organised matter, which is steadily increasing and dividing into parts, constantly assimilating new matter and always giving it back to the inorganic world, always assumes something new in its memory, to reproduce it over and over again. Another way to call this might be the 'iconology of the interval', or a ghost story for adults: to me what CCFT have done here, to put a coloured veil over all the material we have produced from September to December, it invents a kind of phantomic science of the image, a ghost dance in which the most resonant gestures and expressions its creator had discovered return with a spooky insistence, suddenly cast into wholly new relationships. The veil of the pages to me is like the depiction of mist: it is used to render both the visible invisible and the invisible visible', the empty but meaningful interval between images that are and also now not there.



If there is a ghostly quality to CCFT’s exposition here now, perhaps it resides in the odd amalgam of science and superstition that it shares with other works on the image and memory, like the memory-image that adheres to the last photograph of a loved one. Despite our intense effort to bring the past into focus, in the present, it appears to suggest that an anatomy of the image is only ever a science of spectres: an impression heightened by its sudden demise, or veil, as if we had succeeded in freeze-framing something in a paradoxical pose of frenzied immobility, just as the continent and our world was plunged into the terrible mass-immobilisation - COV-19 - that has sent us into a strange exile – and a solution into an enigma.



Can we listen to stones talking?



Susan Brind

Linda Lien

Johan Sandborg


Duncan Higgins

Yiorgos Hadjichristou

Ana Souto

Jim Harold