Is It Live, or Is It Memory?

There’s an art gallery in Toronto that I really like.  Birch Libralato.  I first saw the gallery in 2004 at the Affordable Art Fair in New York and have since purchased a few pieces.  Recently I acquired this painting by David Kramer.  Kramer is fairly quirky and most of his recent works are drawings accompanied by thought provoking text.  I have another…”Why can’t I grow old gracefully.  Like wine or land.”  Another post, another discussion.  But, the first time I saw the piece pictured here it drew me in.  First I laughed, but as I kept thinking about it I realized it is more profound than funny.

When I look back I think about the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met.  A lot of those memories are pretty vivid.  For example, I remember once sitting outside my apartment building in Queens with the boy who lived next door.  The Bungalow Bar ice cream truck was pulling away.  I was 4 and he was 6.  My mother was yelling at us from the apartment window because she said no ice cream and he was arguing (at 6) that it was a fudgsicle, which wasn’t really ice cream.  I remember ditching high school and jumping in a car with an older boy to join an anti-war protest at C.W. Post College.  My mother was not pleased.  Oh, and then there was the birthday in Acapulco and the salad bar with my cousins David and Robin.  Robin relived that one for a good long time, if you know what I mean, so I know she remembers it!

But, every once in a while I’ll get into a “Do you remenber when we…” conversation with a friend.  I can go chapter and verse into the detail, and my friend will look at me like I’ve lost my mind.  Their memories are different.  Not a little different, mind you.  Vastly different.

On January 4th I was watching CBS Sunday Morning.  They were doing a segment on memory.  The research psychologist, Elizabeth Phelps, compared it to a game of telephone.  Just like in that game…where something is repeated from person to person around a circle until the last person has to repeat it out loud…every time we replay memories we can alter them slightly based on where we are in our lives at the point when we are reliving the memory.  Very interesting stuff.

Stay tuned.  I’m going to do a little research!

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