Dissective Nostalgia

This blogspace will allow for an ongoing discussion on topics of global and local significance, specifically as they relate to our discussion on 21 October.

It is my understanding that, to date, you have come to understand certain contemporary processes of globalization through the lenses of more invisible structures such as class struggle, nationhood and professional propriety.

Today, I'd like to begin by leaving global behind for a moment, and thinking purely local. I'm going to discuss design in the context of writing and history, and share with you one particular project that has become a catalyst and a conduit for some of my own ongoing questions about visual thinking, cultural disparity and the paradoxical relationship between memory and memorabilia.

By way of disclaimer, let me just say that my comments are unquestionably biased toward my own interests, perspectives and proclivities. I am a designer, a writer, an educator, a mother, a collector and a critic.

To begin, rather than assigning readings, I'd like to direct our conversation to the images here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Girl Graduate, Part One



Memory book kept by an affluent young midwestern woman in 1926, in which she documented her final year in high school through cards, letters, photos and extensive annotation.

2 Comments:

Blogger goodtobeglad said...

I have a secret. I was a really shy, generic, boring plain Jessica my freshment year in high school. I was so anonymous in fact that I elected NOT to buy a HS yearbook and instead spent all my money on really bad CD's.

LIttle did I know that I would grow to I regret not having printed proof that that year actaully existed.

And so, to make up for my year of nothingness, I became the editor in chief of my HS newspaper for the next two years as well as the art director of the yearbook commmittee for the rest of my tenure.

It was a great experience, my school had our own journalism darkroom, suite of computers, and access to the neighboring HS printing press (they were bigger). But my point is, that from day one of Yearbook and month one of working on the HS news/magazine, we SPARTANS were far from Spartan. We manufactured memories en masse. Heck, we had pages to fill!

I wonder if this ritual, collective (in that a small group of students collect/edit/manufacture/priviledge/theme/design an entire grades' history) harkens back to so many years before..? We plucked random moments from obscurity and cropped in on them for added emphasis. We even staged photos of enthusiastic people named "Matt" or "Rachel" to prove how spontaneous it was that they all should find themselves in the same frame.

Yearbooks are mass-produced (especisally if you graduate from a huge HS like I did) but they still say a lot. FURTHER, they are commented on, annotated, altered, edited, defiled, loved, stored away and rediscovered each move, and every various nostalgic rainy day that a twenty-something feels old.

Guess what I did before I donned that black mortar board and threw it sky high? I stole. Yep, I snuck into the yearbook closet and dug up a book from my freshmen year. I told myself it was for the "full kit" to round out the yellow book shelf in my room, but that book, without the circulation it was due, remains as empty and anonymous as ever.

7:12 PM  
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6:28 AM  

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