I am writing you to remember:

annotation_1.jpg
Screenshot of I am writing you to remember: an interrogation through flickr of personal images, memories and minor details. The actual project can be found here.

Earlier I wrote about experimenting with transcribing photographs. After that post, I scanned in ten photographs which my great aunt had given me. Many of the snapshots were taken before I was born. Barring one, they are all black and white, and most of the people in them have passed away. I wanted to work with the collection precisely because the images were distant from my personal experience. Or at least that is what I thought when I started the piece.

After scanning all the photographs, I blanked out the actual images, leaving only the borders behind. Then, I imported them into flickr. Using the available annotation or note system, I described what was on each of the images.

Writing in the annotations was a radically different experience from my attempts to transcribe them in a linear fashion. Because you can pull, stretch and overlap the highlight boxes across the jpeg’s surface, the writing is spatial and fragmentary. As I was writing the various parts, it felt like drawing the image through text. And in terms of reading, it is interesting to see how the eye is guided to construct the photograph with each hover of the cursor. On a textual level, the picture never comes together because as soon as you view another annotation , the previous one disappears. Only memory gives the image cohesion.

There are other elements woven into the piece such as “the blog this image feature” and the use of flickr maps. Each layer adds another dimension to the series of circumscribed absences.