Deborah Aschheim: feeling-of-knowing will feature sculptures, drawings and sculptural installations that incorporate video and sound, the latter produced in collaboration with musician and composer Lisa Mezzacappa. Since 2007, Aschheim has explored aspects of personal and collective memory, including how memories are formed, how they change over time, how they can be forgotten, and how they might be preserved. The artist is interested in both a subjective and a scientific understanding of memory, and has titled the exhibition with a poetic phrase that is, in actuality, a clinical term borrowed from memory studies. “Feeling-of-knowing” refers to the sensation that occurs when we feel that we know something about a particular subject, but that knowledge, which we believe exists within our memory, is just beyond our immediate grasp. In other words, we might not know the answer to a question at the moment we are asked, but we feel that the answer is stored within our memory, waiting to be accessed and recalled.
Aschheim’s scientific and aesthetic investigations on memory have been pursued in three major bodies of work, On Memory, Earworms and Nostalgia for the Future. On Memory focuses on visualizing the memory process and mapping neural networks. Part experimental psychology and part personal narrative, the sculptural installations of On Memory take the form of large, glowing webs that relate to memory’s fragile, intimate connections and create the support structure for small video monitors that display the artist’s childhood home movies. Earworms, in collaboration with Mezzacappa, comprises sculptural “instruments” built to play recorded songs that were written to “back up” the artist’s memory for language, and specifically for a selection of her favorite words. Each elaborate construction continuously plays one song, inspired by one word, over and over again, as it burns an indelible path into one’s memory. Nostalgia for the Future addresses memory and place, and the haunting of the present by the misremembered future. The sculptures and drawings are driven by the unexpected poignancy of endangered modernist buildings and the failed utopia that they evoke. Selections from each of these three series will be represented in the exhibition, including several new drawings from the ongoing Nostalgia for the Future project.