I Remember your voice in my ear: the iPod as medium in Daniel Blaufuks’s ‘Now Remember’ [EN]

Sandra Camacho

 

What might one remember if one were to hold an iPod in one’s hand whilst the stranger on the screen voiced
their memories directly into one’s ear? How might the medium in which their testimonies are presented affect
the experience of these memories? With a practice that encompasses a variety of media — including
photography, film, video, photobooks, slides and even View-Masters — Portuguese-artist Daniel Blaufuks
(b.1963) turned to iPods as an immersive media for his 2008 project ‘Now Remember’. The work takes its title
from Georges Perec’s ‘Je me souviens’ (1978) — which in turn was borrowed from Joe Brainard’s ‘I remember’
(1975) —, a collection of 480 autobiographical statements each beginning with “I remember…”. In ‘Now
Remember’, Blaufuks recorded the testimonies of five individuals (Heather, Irene, Nadia, Scott and Thomas)
asked to follow the “I remember…” constraint for 15 minutes. The memories shared ranged from the
mundane, “I remember yesterday morning”, to the harrowing, “I remember a single drop of blood on the
couch on the day that my friend Ray shot himself in the head.”

Rather than projecting the recordings sequentially in a gallery space, where viewers would experience the
work collectively, or choose to show each video in an individual screen with headphones, where spectators
would continue to have little agency over their viewing, Blaufuks elected to turn to iPods. In ‘Now Remember’,
the iPod operates as a capsule of memories as much as a device on which to share them; containing the
testimonies as five separate files, in turning the device on and off, the viewer could open or close a window
into someone else’s memories. One could rewind, change tracks, or skip ahead, but there was an additional
trait to experiencing the project through an iPod: it is small enough to fit in one’s hand and the sound is
deployed directly into one’s ear. This cradling of the devise, with its minute screen, returns the making public
of the memories of these five individuals into something experienced privately, as if they were meant solely
for one’s ears; it is here that one might perceive to unique qualities the iPod offers as an immersive media
and how it might impact the response to the telling of memories. What might one remember when one hears
these voices?

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