One February evening, I was watching Emmerdale with my Family. My father curled up in a ball snoozing as usual. As my mother scrolled through Instagram. Someone on the television asked, ‘is Gabby there?’. My dad muttered yes sleepily. That was the first time he had remembered my name in 2 months.
Prior to the diagnosis, we noticed some strange patterns. Every day without fault, he would buy the same Tesco meal deal. Now it’s a mushroom, ham and mascarpone pizza from Aldi. But only if someone else cooks it; if not he will forget to eat. His fish allergy is something that he will never forget. I don’t like fish either. Chocolate, however, is something he hoards.There is always a Cadbury bar to be found somewhere in the house, the laundry basket, in a shoe or behind a photo frame. One time he sheepishly pulled out five bars whilst looking for his wallet.
The works themselves are now artefacts. Necessary documentation for retrospection. Reprocessing these memories is integral for my sanity, whilst the act of remembering is important in itself- something that many of us take for granted. By elevating my childhood drawings and little messages onto the canvas, I want to appreciate those previously disregarded interactions.I hate my previous self, for not remembering Father’s Day and forgetting to greet him with a hug when he came home from work. Although, I wasn’t to know, I’m trying to forgive myself – and him for forgetting my birthday. His diagnosis has bought some solace; it reminds me to remember and meditate. To hoard trinkets and small tokens, because you’ll probably appreciate them in the years to come. But just in case, I have immortalised them through digital means inspired by my father’s career. I have come to question whether the JPEG devalues the act of physically archiving. As the rapid reproducibility of JPEGS may diminish the intimacy the small mementos have to offer. Thereby leading me to investigate the boundaries between digital and analogue image making. More so, how I can appropriate the ‘glitch’ as a visual language to communicate the ephemeral. I present the product of antagonising meditations, the interactions with my father before and after, along with how this disease has permanently altered how I interact and deliberate about the world around me.
Reminiscing of what once was, is a daily ritual. I miss you, dad.