“Immortalize” is often used as a synonym for recording something on film, but few media are as vulnerable to the passage of time as cinema. Nitrate film was replaced by celluloid and analogue film overtaken by digital video, and yet these files have to be updated regularly if they are to avoid becoming obsolete. Memory stored on film has a limited shelf life.
Lydia Nsiah demonstrates this using old Super 8 and 16mm film. The deterioration is evident: there are blank frames, strange blemishes, unexplained gaps and faded colors. Nevertheless, we regularly see images that we can all recognize without being able to identify them precisely: a flock of birds, a city skyline, a smoking volcano. They are archetypes from our collective memory, which is nourished precisely by these types of images. Nsiah’s collage is therefore not about what we remember, but about the carriers of our memory. Its title is to forget, but it encourages us to get: to understand rather than to remember.