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Caitlyn Carty

Artist Statement
At a very young age, I was introduced to the world of memory loss through a family member
diagnosed with Dementia, and later Alzheimers. The concept of unconsciously forgetting something is
hard to grasp even in my adulthood, and it was incomprehensible as a child. Watching a relative
gradually descend into an unreachable depth spurred my early desire to understand the fragility of
memories as a whole. Even in our advanced technological age, our short term memory becomes more lax
with the ability to call any lost information with a few strokes of fingertips on small technological
machinery. The brightest minds of our era (most notably Dr. Eric Kandel, a neuro-psychiatrist focused
on biologically memory) are also developing drugs to willingly purge unwanted recollections, which
theoretically could have disastrous side-effects.
My work divides memory loss into three broad categories: conscious, subconscious, and
unconscious. These categories can then be defined specifically to encompass the numerous forms of loss.
Conscious memory loss includes the willing erasure, i.e. new drugs and the strong desire to forget
something after an incident. Subconscious memory loss includes forms of post-traumatic stress disorder,
or the mind repressing the memory of certain events so an individual can continue in a functional manner.
Unconscious memory loss pertains to diseases that cause unwilling loss, where the body is unaware of
what is occurring in ones own mind.
Through various types of media my work demonstrates all three types of memory loss, showing
the toll each form of erasure can take on the mind and body. The subjects in all of my works express their
loss through different manners and they are all striving to come to terms with their new human conditions.
The sculptures represent a more corporeal existence of memories, how we recall them as a somatic
experience with touch, sound, and smell. A physical form gives the memory a heavier weight, a truer
reality to counteract the constant alteration or degradation of recalled memories. Recall memories are also
more commonly considered long-term memories. The printmaking and book arts work relate to the way
we appear to file away memories and re-access them at another time, just like short-term memory.
While the information recorded might be true to the individual, they are also subject to erasure, enhancing
the attraction to something in a printed form.
My work should make the viewer reflect on how valuable memory preservation is and decide what
should be retained, and what should remain forgotten.