FIELD NOTES :: No Instructions for Assembly :: Kameelah Rasheed's Photographic Memory
While an Artist in Residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock this summer, I continued to work on the series Memories: No Instructions for Assembly. This series which has morphed into six evolving iterations - I, II, III, IV, V, and VI is born from my family's experience with displacement and loss. There is limited photographic evidence that my family ever existed. Photographs were lost when we were unlawfully removed from our home in 1998. Some photographs were water-damaged or accidentally trashed before we packed seven lives and accompanying articles into a burgundy station wagon and made our home in a 450-square foot illegal attachment where my grandfather died, alone, nine years prior of stomach cancer. An attempt to conjure my family back into existence, in Memories: No Instructions for Assembly, I weave together orphaned photographs found at garage sales, photos stolen from the Facebook pages of estranged family members, magazine pages, water-damaged images salvaged during my family's 10-year bout with homelessness, and original photography to re-imagine a lost family history. Working in the tradition of the archaeologist and the archivist, I sample as well as reorganize existing materials into a series of images to produce a non-linear narrative that dances between vivid and vague memories.
As I worked through this series, I kept a daily process journal using instagram and tumblr. I attempted to repurpose these social media tools to create an archive of my discovery, research, and difficulties. My work is an excavation of memories. As an art of excavation, I am concerned with making both my process and product visible. My process journal In many cases, my process notes functioned as product -- final pieces.