Memories From Out of the Blue
American psychologist George Mandler (2004) explained "Mind-pops" as fragments of knowledge that suddenly enter consciousness, such as words, images, or melodies. These highly random mind-pops often exist in everyday life in an "unnoticed" manner. When examining the neural mechanisms of memory processing, memory involves the processes of encoding, storing, and retrieving information. Therefore, mind-pops are not just appearing out of thin air; they are related to accumulating an individual's past experiences. This also seems to imply that the information we actually record may be more than we realize—forgotten memories may not have disappeared from the brain; they are simply hidden, making it impossible for you to discover their traces consciously. As a manifestation of many hidden memories, mind-pops correspond to the subject's genuine feedback about the world, pointing directly to the fact that the subconscious often knows the significance of a particular experience, even if our consciousness is unaware of it.
Artist Zhou Xinyu's creations draw from the endless stream of images in contemporary society's information flow, as well as the image and symbol memories built upon it. Zhou Xinyu's artistic practice integrates animation theory with experiments based on printmaking media. In recent years, her works have mainly used mixed media painting as the primary medium. The fusion of multiple media and the fragility brought about by material blending correspond to the emotions derived from personal experiences and publicness in the unfolding of time. In summary, Zhou Xinyu reveals attention to vulnerability and fragmented emotions in real life with a calm yet warm expressiveness. Her works unfold through the overlay of different layers, and the distorted lines project clear and significant moments extracted from chaotic memories. In her works, full of a mottled and seemingly aged visual, she deliberately imparts an archival quality to contemporary images, allowing her to delicately unravel the multi-threaded emotional memories, presenting scenes of memory like individual acts in a play, recording many fleeting things and flashing them back into the artist’s meticulous observation and material expression, intertwining the past and the present,describing subtle feelings that cannot be clarified by language or text.
"Individuals live by memory, and grasping memory is like grasping the feeling attribute of life's unpredictable changes," in other words, to some extent, individual amnesia accompanies the disappearance of personal identity while actively recalling or discovering hidden fragments in the corners of memory implies retracing the past to gain a deeper understanding of oneself. As Clay Routledge (2011) advocated in his research on nostalgia, "The past makes the present meaningful: Nostalgia as an existential resource," nostalgia can prevent people from falling into an existential crisis, a despair of self-existence, when the meaning of life is threatened. In this sense, we may look forward to the fragments shelved in the corner of memory, longing for an explanation of how we have become what we are today if we can pick up some unconscious memories.
In this exhibition, the sensations of memory flashbacks presented in the works mutually mirror the capture of hidden memories based on subjective consciousness, forming an intertextual relationship. Based on human emotions that originate from reality, Zhou Xinyu provides a personalized narrative and sorting of those imperceptible floating memories in her works, using a visual language that is blurry and ambiguous yet evokes moments of emotional memory flashbacks within the audience.
“⼈是靠記憶⽽活，⼈榮耀地抓住記憶恰似抓住了⽣命變幻莫測的感覺屬性”，換句話說，個體的失憶在⼀定程度上伴隨著個⼈身分的消逝，⽽主動的回憶或發掘記憶⻆落⾥的隱藏⽚段則意味著追溯過去以獲取對於⾃我的深⼊定位。 ⼀如克萊·勞特利奇（2011）關於懷舊的研究成果所主張的那樣，「過去使現在變得有意義：懷舊是⼀種存在資源（The past makes the present meaningful: Nostalgia as an existential resource.）”，懷舊能夠在⽣命的意義受到威脅時，防⽌⼈們陷⼊某種 存在主義的危機，即對⾃我存在的絕望。這樣說來，我們或許可以對記憶⻆落⾥被擱置的⽚段抱有憧憬，憧憬著如果能夠碰巧撿拾起⼀些尚未知覺的記憶，它會為我們如何變成今⽇的模樣做出更加完滿的解釋。
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Text by Chen Junyao