Līga Goldberga

The Memory Clearing House


I work at a museum, a place where they store things that hold memories. I go to antique shops, places where memories can be bought and sold. I buy old photographs people want to get rid of. They take them to antique shops, sometimes they bring them to me at the museum, for the collection. They free themselves from their memory carriers.

Memory erasure is a fantasy, pure science fiction. I would like to witness the change in people if it were possible to erase specific memories – see who would make money off it, and who would use it to gain power. I’d like to see how people would justify using such a service.

Humans have been thinking about the manipulation of memories for ages and the subject matter remains topical to this day. In Ancient Greek mythology, Lethe is the river of forgetfulness. There is a 19th century sci-fi story “The Memory Clearing House” about erasing and implanting memories.  In the early 20th century, artist Marcel Duchamp and composer Erik Satie expressed a wish to live without memory, so they could always be amazed by world. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “Memento”, and “Dark City” are some of the films of recent history that play with the idea of memory manipulation. Now there are articles on the web, claiming that scientists are developing a memory erasing tool.

I took anonymous photographs, cut them up and replaced the blank spaces with personas.