Curatorial Statement-Immemory


Curator: Hongjohn Lin

“Immemory,” “bē-kì-tit” in Taiwanese, is a memory project focusing on the “historical turn” in contemporary art over the past decade in specifically the local context of Keelung. The exhibition considers historical objects and facts as the “thing-in-itself,” aiming to explore Foucault’s concept of “historical a priori” through self-reflexive historiography. The project presents five leitmotifs: “archive fever,” “cold cold war,” “things as the historical a priori,” “politics of exosomatic memory,” and “settler colonialism vs colonialism.” These leitmotifs bear witness to the historical traces of people, events, and objects, allowing us to traverse the stream of consciousness across the present, past, and possible future.

The neologism “immemory” carries three distinct connotations through its prefix “im-.” Firstly, it signifies an open discourse toward the future rather than dwelling solely on the past. The poetic language of art encompasses both past retention and future pretention, aligning with Bernard Stiegler’s concept of “tertiary retention,” which refers to the poetic language. Secondly, the word denotes the negativity of memory, highlighting the dialectical relationship between remembering and forgetting in subjective experiences. It represents the uncanny primary scene of unhomeliness, which operates at both collective and individual levels, arising from repression and amnesia. Lastly, “im-” indicates an “external” relation. Immemory explores the exosomatic memory shaped by media and technology, extending beyond human interior subjectivity. It delves into the translation and substitution of mediated experiences, encompassing the ontological evolution of technology within individual nature.

The term “immemory” is also an acronym for “I am memory.” Similarly, “bē-kì-tit” signifies the thematic discourse of remembrance from the local, specifically referring to Keelung-logy as historical a priori. Thus, this discursive practice manifests “Taiwanese-ness,” presenting unprecedented and diverse historical subjectivity. The participating artists collectively tell the various “mise en scène”of multiple exhibitionary narratives to reveal the pluralistic perspectives of histories. It is to offer the necessary clues of what Fredric Jameson would call “synchronic monadic simultaneity” as the archive of the memorandum for the future.