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REMEMORIES

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REMEMORIES plays with memories from anonymous persons, proposing a singular approach through reinterpretation.
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    “I would like you to remember an important personal event, something that still seems important to you today. Actors will then reinterpret your memories.”
     
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    During May-August 2012, several anonymous contributors answered my request (through a webpage that described the project), giving me lots of short texts to work on.
     
    This is how REMEMORIES started. The project plays with memories from anonymous persons, proposing a singular approach through reinterpretation.
     

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    Nostalgia, happiness or traumas formed the main components of these numerous memories, from which actors and dancers experimented to create something new, without trying to be literal but keeping the emotions and ideas of the texts. I didn’t wanted to simply reenact the memories (the original texts would have been sufficient for that) but to go beyond them and create singular photos with some freedom, for both actors and me. That is why most of my usual themes are apparent: ambiguity, mysterious symbols and a non-naturalistic approach to the link between bodies and their environment – all of which being freely interpreted by the viewers.
     
    Places are also linked to this idea of “memories”: second-hand bookstore, former school, museum... all these interesting spaces add originality, preventing the actors from simply recreating the description of these recollections.
     
    Finally, when submitting a message, all participants have accepted to let me publish their original text next to the photos. I’ve simply numbered them in chronological order, translating them to English when required.
     
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    REMEMORIES is a work in progress and is still open to submissions: www.jsmonzani.com/rememories/
     
     
  • Memory #5
    It is the end of Spring. I am 7 years old. My brother is 6, my cousins are 7 and 9. The grass in my grandfather’s orchard is very dense and very tall. Taller than us, anyway. We decide to create mazes, advancing on our 4 legs, crushing grass to create pathways. Our forearms, our elbows are all green while  inventing paths that intersect or are lost. Sometimes in the grass, sometimes in the daisies and dandelions, we continue our work. The play area enlarges. Only a sudden flight of insects gives an indication on the presence of a “harvester” child. Finally, one of us hides and screams a call: it’s the start for a man-hunt in this gigantic natural labyrinth.
  • Memory #19
    My memory is about death. 2 years ago I lost my best friend, he died of an uncured clinical condition. I’m still not able to entirely process his death but I remember that, at one point, I finally clearly understood that he was no longer with us... And that I had to live for both. It was like... feeling bigger, heavier but at peace. I almost felt his hug and his presence with me in that moment, telling me that I had to live 2 times, for me and for him. I’m not religious, and I don’t believe in ghosts... I’m telling you that everything happened in that moment was all in my head. But it felt so true, so real that I think it actually changed my life. That moment is my most precious memory.
  • Memory #30
    She felled asleep just moments after we made love. I was awake caressing her and laying by her side. Looking at her, listening to her breathing rhythm, wondering what it was that made this girl fall in love for a man like me. Suddenly I felt the urge to capture that very moment. The urge for not letting it go. So, in a very slow and delicate fashion, I got off the bed and went straight to my desk that was nearby. I sat there naked, holding a piece of paper on one hand, and a pen on the other. I just wanted to tell her how much I loved her; how much I felt incredibly fortunate for having the chance to see her laying there, naked and so peacefully asleep. For a few minutes, I didn’t really knew what to write. Then, I just decided to tell her how beautiful she looked and how afraid I was to interrupt her dreams. I just wanted that particular moment in time to last forever! A lot of years have passed since then. We’re no longer together and it’s been more than a decade since I last saw her. But that memory remains and every time I turned to my inner-self to revive it, it reminds of how amazing love is. Glamorous, splendorous, delicate and very vulnerable.
  • Memory #32
    Over the December-January holidays I house sat for some friends of my parents who were holidaying in New Zealand. Their house was small and neat with lots of sharp edges and wooden accents, and I loved it immediately. It was my first time sleeping over in an empty house with no one I knew close by. I danced the length of that house hundreds of times while I stayed there, and I remember feeling happier in that empty house than I ever felt living with my parents. I felt like a ghost who had finally found its peace, and it was during those nights that I realised that I didn’t need anyone else to make me happy. I could exist on my own.
  • Memory #13
    my rememorie is that i used to live a terrible life last year and everithime i haded a problem i used to cry by night and make me marks and drawings on my arms, legs and belly with sissors and needles no one ever noticed it, PLEASE CHOOSE MINE!
  • Memory #4
    My first kiss. Standing on the dance floor at a friends party, I was grabbed by a beautiful girl who had been dancing with my friends from the same table. But my dance, was the only slow dance. My first. I realised that some of her hair was in my mouth, combining all my courage I gently brushed her hair away from her neck and thus out of my mouth to be greeted by a smile. Before I knew it we were kissing. I could hear only the music and feel only the magic of the moment. No one else existed, it was a glorious event. I know now that she thought I was being tender and making a move by lightly moving her hair. It was the best mistake I’d ever made :)
  • Memory #12
    we used to go to a lake in wisconsin; it was in adam county, and i cannot remember the name, but it seemed like a brown ocean, vast and dotted with tiny islands. papi had a platoon boat, he would fish while i baked in the summer heat, staring into the water that reminded me so much of muslin. our wake would break cohesion, and i could count the glimmering stitches that turned back into a single, undulating sheet. embroidered shadows lived beneath the surface, coming and going, breathing art, and i dipped my fingers into the water, always surprised it was fluid. papi would get drunk and tell me he loved me. i don’t have a good relationship with my father, and these are my best memories of him. the lake, his stained white tank top, the yellow sun, the scent of cheap beer, his stubble- he hugged me once, let me sit on his lap and taught me how to tie a fishing knot. i stared at the water and thought of fish, seaweed, what might have lived on those islands- i still get emotional when i think back.
  • Memory #18
    When we realized my mother was going to die from cancer, but she was still relatively well, I went to visit her and she threw a little party and pretended she still enjoyed drinking beer just so we could have a good time and we didn’t have to focus on the sadness. We made silly hats from household objects and took pictures.
  • Memory #39
    In the waiting room of the doctor, I am turning the pages of an uninteresting magazine. The room is almost empty, an old lady puts her crutches in the corner. The medical center is new, everyone is so friendly and helpful, and it always puts me in a good mood. Today, my doctor a little late and I gaze at the corridor every time I hear some footsteps ... Another false alarm, it is another old lady who joins us, coming out of his consultation. Visibly full of emotion, she sits, takes out a handkerchief and holds back tears.
    I hesitate, my first instinct would be to go to her, talk to her, to support her. But does she want me to stop her tears? I look at her when she does not see me, I pretend to read. A young doctor calls the other patient. He smiles, while waiting for her to come and join him. I then exchange glances with the sad woman.
    Me: Everyone is very nice here... 
    She: Yes ... this is good .
    “Even when the news are not so good, people are so friendly.”
  • Memory #44
    I was a child, I had 7-8 years. One night I wake up from a nightmare. At this point, I realize that I am no longer in my bed, but I don’t know where I am. I understand that there is a wall behind me, a table on me and I can’t leave this place because I’m trapped behind “bars”. I feel a deep panic. I start screaming. Finally, the light of my room is switched on. Mommy comes to save me. She screams “where are you?” Because she can’ts ee me. I was finally stuck under the desk in my room... How did I get here?
  • Memory #41
    When I was little I liked to stay late to watch TV with my parents, but there was always this horrible time where I had to go up to bed. I could sometimes convince my mother to go up the stairs with me, but other times she refused and I had to go alone. I had an immense fear in the stairs and especially about being alone. I ran very fast and I did not dare to look back. It felt like a ball of energy in my back that haunted me, it was big, mainly black, with bits of green and red. It was a ball of fear created by my imagination, but its presence seemed to be something quite real.
  • Memory #14
    I was in the attic, looking for stuff packed in old boxes, I particularly like to sit down and take time to search, review, and look at  old memories as the room is also filled by things that belong to other family members, there was a diving suit, suspended from a hanger in the shadow which reminded me of a silhouette, stacked boxes, some old dolls, and the place was filled with a familiar presence yet simultaneously strange, impalpable, sometimes comforting and sometimes frightening, and at that moment I felt like being in another space and time.
  • Memory #2
    I walk with my new girlfriend in an Italian town. She wants to show me somewhere special. It is a restaurant in a small square in this city full of towers. She wants to come back, because the last time she was there, a waiter from the restaurant has abused her. She trembles of fear as we approach. I feel her shiver while we pass. Suddenly, the man comes outside of the cafe. Time stops as if my blood was completely frozen! We walk around the block. We stop, she cries a bit and thanks me to have escorted her while she was fronting her memory. I hold in my arms, feeling touched. A year later we separate. I’ve never been able to touch this girl.
  • Memory #8
    On the verge of summer during my high school years, me and two of my closest friends went out to a small playground to hang. It turned into a small adventure when we took a trip down the ditch and into a long tunnel that didn’t seem to end. Sure I was afraid. My friends were blocking the light at the end, but when we managed to get to the end we found our little private wonderland under the cookie-cutter neighborhoods. Once the sun had set, we returned to the playground and just sat ourselves on top of the monkey bars and watched the moon and stars. I don’t really think I had ever been more happy and at home since then.
  • Memory #33
    Washing dishes late at night in a crummy apartment, looking out of the window and seeing a full moon lighting the city up in silver, and smelling lilacs on a slight spring breeze.
  • Memory #45
    There I was, stood alongside him, never knew about what was about to happen. Next minute, I’m forced against a wall, fear trembled through my veins. I never knew what actually happened until I passed out on the floor from shock, my heart rate went so fast, it was all a blur until about a couple of weeks on. I found out he raped me. The person I once called my best friend forced me into doing a vile act. Pushing and shoving him, he never moved. I wanted to cry, shout and scream into his ears that I didn’t want this, but my mouth wouldn’t move. I was traumatised. His hands glided down my side, the smirk, the smirk of no regret. He forced me until I couldn’t feel myself any more, my legs seemed limbless. That’s all I can remember. Being a young teen, most would never want to look back but I look back and laugh. I laugh because it has only made me a stronger person. I’ve gone to self defence classes, worked out, and I have taught myself that no matter how much it may hurt them, I can say no if I don’t want it. It’s changed me for the better, and if it wasn’t for that day, I would not be the person I am today.
  • Memory #6
    The time I finally left my birth country. The anxiety, excitement and possibilities were so amazing. I was leaving behind horrible feelings and memories and replacing them with whatever I wanted to create. It was a growing and eye opening experience that has wholly changed my life and outlook. I replaced stagnation, closed-mindedness and sadness with hopefulness, open-mindedness and joy.

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