Mapping Collected Memory: An Exploration of Memory-Based Navigation in Amman, Jordan

  • Regina Mamou Adjunct lecturer in the Art Institute of Chicago's Department of Museum Education (Chicago, Illinois)
Keywords: Photography, Video Art, Art and Maps

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to explore navigational and image-making methods in a context where maps and formal address systems have been minimally consulted in recent years. This investigation is approached by way of a research-based art project on subjective cartography, which was carried out from 2009 to 2010 during a Fulbright fellowship to Amman, Jordan. The project examines the mutability of a specific location as well as its relationship between obsolescence in cartographic resources and the photographic medium. By reaching out to Ammani residents for informal tours of the city, selected guides were asked to narrate their experiences of navigating the city by memory and then directed to point out key landmarks during this process. Later, these tours were re-memorized and landmarks were photographed as a representation of the afterimage to capture high-quality still images through the use of a large-format photographic device. These afterimages are not intended to serve as documents or memorials of Amman but rather as ruminations on the faculties of memory in an ever-changing environment. This subjective experience, or the observation of a city’s minutiae amid wayfinding, poses a series of inquiries, vis-à-vis memory-based navigation and the role of still images, as an alternative to the panoptic view of a map. The result is a meditative project considering the plasticity of an urban entity, presented as a composition of written material and large-scale photographs, fragments of the city that when viewed as a series come together as a constellation of a subjective whole.

 

Author Biography

Regina Mamou, Adjunct lecturer in the Art Institute of Chicago's Department of Museum Education (Chicago, Illinois)

Regina Mamou is a Chicago-based visual artist working at the intersection of photography, installation, writing, and research practices. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Selected exhibitions include Makan Art Space in Amman, Jordan (2010); Action Field Kodra's 11th Exhibition of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, Greece (2011); and The Chicago Project online at Catherine Edelman Gallery (2012). Mamou holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. In the fall of 2013, she will present a solo exhibition at the City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower in Chicago, Illinois. Please visit reginamamou.com for more information.

Published
2014-06-05
How to Cite
Mamou, R. (2014). Mapping Collected Memory: An Exploration of Memory-Based Navigation in Amman, Jordan. Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture, 3, 138-159. https://doi.org/10.5195/contemp.2014.77
Section
Artist Portfolio