In his series Memory Pieces, Jim Campbell explores the notion memory through inherent bodily rhythm and personal artifacts. His specific work, Photo of My Mother, uses his breathing as the “memory” which alters the viewer’s perception of a photograph. Campbell previously recorded himself breathing for one hour. The duration of each recorded breath is then used to alter a piece of fogged glass in front of the photograph. With each breath, the glass becomes foggy and then transparent, simulating the act of breathing upon a glass surface.
What Campbell has achieved is a dual commentary. In one sense, he reminds us that our memories of certain things become “foggy” over time. He also speaks to the inherent routines that our body completes. We never have to remember to breath, it simply happens naturally. For me, this duality is powerful. This piece makes me question if I have any control over what I will remember or forget. Perhaps my body subconsciously makes it own decisions.