Vik Muniz «Memory Rendering of the Man on the Moon» 1989.
Best of Life, Memory Rendering of the Man on the Moon, 1989.
«When I arrived in the United States in 1983, I spoke very little English and so initially did not make many new acquaintances. Reading the paper and watching TV were comforting in my new environment. I bought 'The Best of Life' in a garage sale outside of Chicago. This book somehow made me feel safer. It made me feel more a part of the place where I was living.»
«That 'family of man' thing really works. I lost the book in the summer of '88 on a beach in Long Island and felt really sad. Immediately, if occurred to me that people do not keep picture books like The Best of Life solely for written content. They also keep them to check as they would paruse a family album. During that summer, I began to check how much I retained from the experience of those photographs. At first, it was a pastime. I would wake up and work on a few every day, and each day I would remember a bit more. When I could no longer remember anything, I began to call people (who didn't have the images in front of them either) and ask specific questions. I discovered that people store images in radically different ways: their descriptions had a completely different structure than mine. The visual world is like a crossword puzzle: we all have the same puzzle but each of us solves it differently. I had developed from memory a few of the images quite well when Stux Gallery offered to show them as drawings. Once I'd transformed the image-memories into drawings, I thought they should be returned to their photo state. So I photographed the drawings. When they were ready, I printed the photos with the same halftone screen the original pictures were printed on. People thought they were seeing bad reproductions of photographs of famous events, but in fact they were only looking at pictures of thoughts. They were convinced by the photographs because they have the same syntax as the real photos. It worked.» ~ Excerpt of Vik Muniz and Charles Ashley Stainback interview - Seeing is Believing.