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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

NYC Thought Pictures: Memories of Place
Russet Lederman

NYC Thought Pictures: Memories of Place is an interactive 8-bit, 256 color, CDRom work, which presents a personal and eclectic view of New York, as experienced and remembered by several diverse individuals.

At the core of NYC Thought Pictures: Memories of Place is a facination with the power of “seemingly” ordinary events and places, which ultimately turn out to be monumental within the schema of an individual’s life. For me, the personal and idiosyncratic hold the power. Therefore, as the basis for this interactive work, I have chosen to interview several diverse individuals about their New York “place” stories. These stories along with “visual” quotes from Walter Benjamin and Graeme Gilloch (a Benjamin scholar) form the theoretical and visual armature of this work. Benjamin’s “Denkbilder” writings on Berlin, Moscow, Paris and Naples provided the theoretical underpinnings for developing an investigation of the four central themes in NYC Thought Pictures: Memories of Place, i.e.“Memory”,“Time”,“Fragmentation” and “City Experience. ”The fragmentary writing style and sometimes open-ended conclusions in Benjamin’s work is well suited to my visual style and theoretical viewpoint. Loosely following Benjamin’s model, this work is constructed from fragments of private and public images, audio, ephemera and text of and about the city. As a totality, these images aid in revealing the “micro” tales of specific places and neighborhoods within the larger view of New York City.

Inherent in this project, and specific to the digital medium in which I am working, is a strong random navigational structure.My goal with this piece has been to create a structure, which allows the viewer to be aware of his/her place or location within the work, yet limit his/her ability to control the path taken. If, in the end, the viewer is asking more questions and is challenged to re-evaluate their own sense of “place”, then I have been successful. For me, the investigation of place is ongoing, without any definite conclusions.