Memories made of Ivory, resin, variable size, 2017


It’s never the same.

Navigating the terrains of memory remains to be a disconcerting task. Its landscapes are never flat, nor are its horizons straightforward; it is instead perpetually revealing and concealing its undulations and dimensions with every temporal juncture.

Memory persists as immensely ambivalent and nuanced— full of uncharted territories, dead ends and disappearing coordinates. Grounded on the vulnerability of remembrance and incongruence of forgetting, a constant disloyalty to the initial phenomena is expected. Objects, faces, names and places, however meant to function as signposts, tend to shift positions and degrees of clarity.

It’s never the same.mirrorsthese fluctuating impressions of time. Creating an assembly of purposively non-descript imageries and narratives, Jose John Santos III confronts the familiar and unfamiliar vagaries inculcated in this intricate process of retrieval. Here emerges a layered and self-fabricating topography further compounded by the changing disposition of the individual who does the remembering.

This perception of reality through objects and events (phenomena) is a method of charting proposed by the field of phenomenology. Through the fundamental device of ‘phenomenological reduction’, Edmund Husserl poses a ‘bracketing’ or suspending of one’s judgments to neutralize an experience in order to return to seeing things in themselves. This is by no means an uncritical view or a denial of the external world. Rather, this process of traversing temporalityallows for comprehension of things as they appear in the present.

In extension and refute of this exclusively cognitive view of the discipline, Martin Heidegger puts forth a more existential and ontological notion of human consciousness. It is one that is aware of the meaning of its existence or presence/ absence in the world (Dasein or there-being). Time here manifests itself not in separated phases as past, present and future, but exists integrated with the being in question.

However contrasting, these methods of defining time-consciousness elucidate an understanding of man’s search for footing on memory’s erratic waves. It becomes a way of unfolding the context or background where the phenomena are pinned on. For although the experiences and corresponding taxonomy of its signs remain subjective, specific and personal, the persistence of time as an overarching blanket for reality is shared.

It’s never the same.is a collection ofexercisesin mappingoneself in reality and in time. Stubborn efforts in archiving, documenting, collecting and re-presenting the past, despite the inherent inability and flaw of man’s faculties, carries with it the hope that the present and future would come clear. Unveiled in exploring methodologies for plotting memory is the realization that it is neither the objects nor the experiences that make up the self. Instead, the sufferance and courage that comes with every attempt to maintain a grasp of its residues, in what is remembered and forgotten, is that which provides a faithful articulation of one’s humanity.

Iris Ferrer