Images: Mnemosyne, 2014, Digital Inkjet Prints
Describing an experience in a nonliteral sense, Mnemosyne, 2013, is a body of work I reflects on the process of constructing memory and experience. Mnemosyne is also the Greek word for memory. In Greek mythology, Mnemosyne is the goddess and muse of memory.
Mnemosyne explores the experience of a condition called sleep paralysis and memory of surviving conflict. Sleep paralysis is one of the many symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This episode is characterized by a discrete period of time during which voluntary muscle movement is inhibited, yet ocular and respiratory movements are intact and one’s sensorium remains clear. Mnemosyne investigates the relationship between paralysis and detachment of self, body versus psyche, during times of trauma and /or experience. This merges the memory, my tour in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and experiencing, episodes of sleep paralysis. In Iraq, my body was fully awake but my mind was asleep whereas during an episode of sleep paralysis, my body is asleep and my mind is awake.
Mnemosyne incorporates the process of memory work through photography and written narrative. I have transitioned from using figurative and literal representations to a non-figurative, metaphysical, and painterly approach to convey the concepts and ideas. As an artist who emphasizes the importance of process, I believe the components of process like critical thinking and self-reflection (written and visual) supersede the value of the final product. However, exhibiting the process as a final product allows the viewer an inside look at my transformational experience through documentation of my psychological and physical response to experience.