Sites of Memory

This series of  video works is part of a larger body of work exploring notions of landscape and memory. Created in 2011 in the American West and Central Europe, each ‘video painting’ is linked to a specific event: battlefields, concentration camps, sacred lands, earthquake sites, ghost towns.

In these works it is the tension between the history of each place and the indexical link I have standing at each site that interests me. History becomes collapsed. The landscapes, whether they are epic or banal, take on the memory of past peoples and past events. While making this work, I spent five months living in a small town in Montana. These works take us to the battlefields of the Little Bighorn, sacred Navajo sites in Utah, ghost towns in Idaho and an unmarked Blackfeet Indian mass grave in Montana, forming a portrait of the West that raises questions about the construction of history.

Later that year I began working on the Reduced to Silence project and started researching in Central Europe, travelling to Hungary and Poland. The video paintings I created there are lakes, forests and abandoned railway stations which are intrinsically linked to the Holocaust. Dark landscapes that have hidden histories, their lack of memorialisation the result of cultural amnesia.

There are 36 video paintings in the collection, with a total duration of 3 hours, 41 minutes. They are designed to be installed as projected continuous, randomly sequenced loops.

Sites of Memory, 36 video paintings, 3 hours, 41 minutes, Mute. HD video
© Roz Mortimer, 2011