Maurice Halbwachs observed that in many cases “mental illness is accompanied by a breakdown of contact between thought and things” ("On Collective Memory", 1992 University of Chicago Press, pp. 47-48). Inability to recognise familiar faces and physical objects is one of the symptoms in a variety of conditions treated by the psychiatrists. To recognise and make sense of the environment we need a network of reference points – a framework provided by the static objects. Extrapolating further, Halbwachs proclaims the physical objects – things which have meaning despite being mute – as part of the society. Things - material objects - form an important part of our group memory, since their circulation and evaluation within the social groups defines those groups’ social standing and cultural identities. Objects represent the historical continuity, permanence and immobility of the social groups.
There was a nagging need to restore my long lost personal archives and surround myself with familiar objects. Initially, I started collecting random artefacts found on online auctions – objects which somehow reminded me of my grandparents – with hope that they would trigger my memory. Their authenticity was not really a subject of major concern, but rather the tactile qualities embodied by their textures, forms, materials and smells. As an experiment, I also made reproductions of the authentic mementos handed down in my family to test their usefulness in invoking the aura and affect. In the search for identity through nostalgia, I committed the inevitable act of deceit, keen to find out how the viewers would interpret the collections of original objects and their facsimiles.
Initially a collection of physical objects and replicas, eventually the archive moved into the realm of digitised 3D models.