The Air between Two Women is a conversation between Anawana Haloba and I; a collection of fragments that we see as mental residue of our pasts.
I believe that all humans have a kind of invisible bag of air surrounding them, a congested and loud bag that carries all manner of residue: mental “left-overs”, or fragments that have not been incorporated into memories. The term ‘mental residue’ should therefore not be mistaken with the notion of memory, which we understand as a larger scene or scenario – whole rather than fragmentary. These ‘residues’ could be expressed through words, images or objects. We have chosen as our point of departure this concept of ‘mental residue’.
The nature of our conversations, having been via telephone (both conventional and Internet), email, or occasionally face-to-face, has introduced a new dimension to the project. The physical distance that has often separated us has given rise to a new language within the work that expresses the importance of time, distance and space in our process.
In dealing with what we refer to as ‘mental residue’ we want to avoid conventional notions of memory and recalling.
The Air Between Two Women tries to piece together, in a conscious process, these residues – the fragments left-over from our memories The difficulties are due to the mind’s tendency to present what appear to be complete events are, in reality, already collections of fragmentary scenes or scenarios assembled unconsciously.
On the other hand, the process has provoked mental encounters, creating new visual spaces. Since the project will be shown at the old Aluminium plant, the need to incorporate the residues of the site, its history, its decay and the workers’ mental residues is central to the work. This has been achieved through a series of exercises with a number of former workers from various levels of management. We use the word ‘exercises’ because the notion of recalling whole memories, or complete events, is to be absent in the process of developing the project.
Using all these fragments and found elements we will create a co-existence of our own mental residues, and those of the workers, adapting it to the place and its history.