Joyce Clements
Joyce Clements
Joyce Clements Artist                             PO Box 39 Bolinas CA 94924                                            415-868-1008
The Memory Pavilion       8’ x 8’ x 8’

The Memory Pavilion is a multi-media art installation that generates thoughts and feelings about and from a visitor’s memory.  It is the result of my realizing that remembering is different from memory. Remembering is primarily intellectual recall.

Memory however is different, it consolidates experience: it grafts, combines, consolidates, deletes.  Memory represents the sum total of who we are at any one moment in time; it is our platform for the next decision, the next action, the next feeling.

This distinction between remembering and memory became apparent to me when I read a book that referenced “cultivating a garden of memory.”  I didn’t know what the author meant.  I thought of memory as nostalgia, as melancholy. To me, memory meant recalling the bad or unhappy things that happened to or around me throughout my life.  And yet, in the tallying up of things, comparatively speaking, very few bad or unhappy things have happened to me.

My life is rich and delicious -- I visualize myself as having been born under a set of lucky stars. I see memory as my platform. It feels like a springboard designed to support me and launch me.  It is not “bad” or “unhappy” things that brought me to this place. 

In making an exploration of memory I have read, talked with other people, attended a family reunion, looked back through old photographs.  I now have come to understand memory as a personal, unique sacred space - a space that has both static and dynamic aspects, one in which the scenery is etched and continues to change by the compression of prior experiences and the addition of new ones.  This is what I hope this Memory Pavilion will be for others.

The exterior walls of the Memory Pavilion are completely carved and painted.  Images interlock and are separated from each other only by incised lines that define their shapes and by color.  The images are dream-like.  They seem vaguely figurative, animal-morphic and/or botanical.  The coloring of the images is multi-layered.

When a visitor is within a couple of feet of the walls, she or he will begin to hear an audio tape with four voices on it, one male and three female voices (including my own), speaking - the words and phrases being the admonitions, criticisms, compliments that I remember as formative.  Hearing this recital inevitably prompts the listener to remember similar sensations of her or his own.

Inside the pavilion is a quiet space. The walls are painted in shades of blue, reminiscent of the sky.    In the center of the floor/ground is a fountain resembling a baptismal font.  The interior of the basin is a collage of irregular pieces of mirror inlaid in white grout.  Water flows in from the bottom and fills the bowl.  The bowl empties and then refills. The movement of water and reflected light, the ebb and flow of the water are engaging- this filling and emptying, this fullness and slacking, this changing/flitting of light is a lot like what we all personally experience as memory.

-- Joyce Clements
Resin, fiberglass, paint, steel, clay, glass, recorded sounds, speakers and water, fountain pump  plus other materials