a love letter to an evolving self

Part OneAmnesia

Part TwoAporia

Part Three Folly

Premiered in 

2021 Atlanta Biennial 

 February 19 - August 1, 2021

Virtual Remains, curated by TK Smith

A word from the curator:

"Virtual Remains bridges these marginal and unconventional spaces to examine how contemporary artists are experimenting with technology to contend with flawed and fragmented archives. Danielle Deadwyler, Shane Dedman, Adam Forrester, and Artemus Jenkins are Atlanta-based artists that embrace the flaws and gather the fragments to create artworks that tell personal and communal histories in innovative and intuitive ways. Each artist tends to their own interdisciplinary repositories of ephemera — documents, film, and audio— that they then redact, manipulate, and fabricate to uncover the truths that lack material evidence.  

Deadwyler offers a multimedia installation that incorporates performance, video, and sculpture to intervene on the histories of the Atlanta railway corridor by unearthing the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the Black laborers who worked to construct it. Dedman debuts a trilogy of experimental films that contemplate loss of one’s personal archive as a rite of passage or as tragedy. Forrester’s installation involves a documentary film and a collage of archival and fabricated documents that blur the boundaries between truth and lies. Jenkins presents a series of videos that rely on his process and experience as a filmmaker to speculate the future of memorialization when the most critical remains are digital.  

The works presented in Virtual Remains are malleable and evolving accumulations of the artists’ continuous labor, introspection, research, and engagement with their communities. Exacerbating the tensions between memory and history, truth and myth, the exhibition privileges the experiential to simulate what feels most true, instead of literal truths. Together, the artists engage in a non-linear, fragmented, and inconclusive conversation on absence, memory, and the fidelity of technology." 

- TK Smith, Curator of Virtual Remains

PHYSICAL BODY  lies between concepts of whether the loss of an archive is a rite of passage or a tragedy.

Documenting and analyzing the ruin of the artist’s archive (from 2004-2018) due to a flood, Dedman works to investigate traces of bereavement left behind.

The artist uses alchemy to create and maintain new selves, new archives by virtue of iterations of degraded information through media.

The films are composed of spoken word voice-overs, modulated field recordings, and moving image recorded using mini DV and DSLR.

Still from "Folly," 2020

As a non-binary, queer, millennial filmmaker, Dedman advocates for the agency to maintain one’s archive and urges for the planning of posthumous archive maintenance in anticipation of inevitable mortality. 

They’re obsessed with the concepts of — 

+ the archive as a distorted mirror of life 

+ the archive as a decaying monument. 

They strive to re-contextualize the spaces and presentation in which their video work is viewed. They have learned through first-hand research and experience how inaccessible art, video art, and rare films are within academic & institutional settings. 

With this curiosity comes the observation and analysis of the gaps within the archive; the class division of the privileges of storage space, maintenance of staff and machinery, and thereafter, the protection of these afforded resources... 

We must all have the agency to harbor our own histories. 

“Amnesia” digs into the effects of the flood on Dedman’s writing archive.

“Aporia” shows the burning of the moldy, ruined notebooks in ritual. 

“Folly” is a scripted short that contemplates the internal narrative work that arose when the impression of memory became the only remnant of the archive.

The Archive is not Truth— 

the Archive is Power over History,
the Archive is Memory +
the Knowledge one must access,
to activate it, to bring it to Light.

        What remains valuable within the sepulcher?

     How must we curate our physical/digital realms 
           to leave the essence of our 
                                                                      “truest” self?

There is no one true Self,
     just as there is no
                                one true History.

That-has-been” will forever be incomplete
+ will forever react as an evolving body
                       to its shifting environments,
                                 just as our psyches adapt
                                             to time and the unknown... 

The trilogy of experimental short films began within a therapeutic artist residency with TAR Project from 2019-2020. 

Dedman harbors anxiety about the future, and so they are persistent in transforming the tragic into forces of curiosity

*“Part I: Amnesia” 

+ screened at the 2020 NOFLASH Video Show  

+ transcript published in Analog Cookbook Vol. 2, a zine about analog film processes. 

"Folly" uses many sounds from the library, licensed under the Creative Commons.
Here is the list of all the sounds used. 

This work was inspired by:

+ Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto by Legacy Russell

+ “A Museum for James Baldwin” by Fritz J. Raddatz, James A. Baldwin, Magdalena J. Zaborowska, and Theaster Gates from 032c Magazine

+ “Delete Yr Account: Speculations on Trans Digital Lives and the Anti-Archival Part I & II” by Cassius Adair from the DIGITAL RESEARCH ETHICS COLLABORATORY

+ Archive Fever by Jacques Derrida

+ the films of the Structuralist filmmaker, Dara Friedman, from her retrospective Perfect Stranger

Using Format