The Phonebooks of Shuk Chun 31643

“Memories and thoughts age, just as people do. But certain thoughts can never age, and certain memories can never fade.” - Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Mem(e)ri showcases four ways of remembering at the Dyson Gallery. The exhibition comprises work by artists Ella Belenky, Salama Nasib, Sara Stanton and Bonnie Wong - expressed through mediums of print, painting and video. The collection of work reflects personal and collective notions surrounding loss, memory and the sometimes isolation of a contemporary existence. The work investigates the intermediary between public and private space and presents an overlapping juxtaposition between that which is remembered and forgotten. 

The Phonebooks of Shuk Chun 31643 is a series of screenprinted maps. My grandma has two very old telephone books, she sees them as her most precious pocessions and usually keeps it in somewhere safe. They consist of an accumulation of about 500 numbers written down by herself over the course of 25 years, since 1995. 

With signs of memory loss and decline of reasoning skills, my family witnessed our grandma’s progression from being in charge of household chores, to no longer being able to move with ease. Grandma’s own handwriting has become her most trusted, comforting, and reliable reference as they remind her of her past. Some of these phone numbers have become abstract memories she could no longer recall, while some remains solid and vivid. In this project, I have scanned every page of my grandma’s phonebooks and have tried map out the geographic locations of the owners of these numbers. By mapping the numbers, investigating and interviewing my grandma, the whole family learned a lot more about this central figure of their lives from a different perspective.
This series of work was first exhibited in Mem(e)ri, Dyson Gallery, London (Apr 2018).

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