The Reservoir

Audio-Visual Sculpture, 1 x Video / Stereo Sound & 4 x Interview Loop Listening Stations, 2019

“The vast reservoir of our unconscious appears to hold not only our traumatic memories, but also the unresolved traumatic experiences of our ancestors. In this shared unconscious, we seem to re-experience fragments of an ancestors memory and declare them as our own” (Wolynn, It Didn’t Start With You, 55, 2017)

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This work was inspired by events that occurred during my birth. Through interviews with my mother I explored memories of her own childhood. This in turn led me to interview my grandmother about her childhood and the events leading up to, and including, my mother’s birth. As they recalled their memories I discovered interesting parallels in their individual experiences, both as daughters and as mothers. Excavating the memories of both my mother and grandmother helped shed new light on recurring patterns in my own relationships. This in turn encouraged me to question how our decisions and actions may be unconsciously influenced by events that occur before we are born.



The installation consists of a video (11m 44s looped) and 4 interview recordings (combined total running time of 30m 14s). By inverting the signal path of 4 contact microphones I created a series of listening points on the exterior of the glass tank which can be interacted with using the stethoscope provided. The participatory quality of the piece allows the viewer control over which interview they hear and when they hear it, whilst the different length of video and audio loop cycles insures that every viewer will experience a unique version of the installation. 

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If emotional inheritance from previous generations plays a role in shaping who we are, then uncovering our family history takes on heightened importance in helping us break destructive patterns of behaviour.

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