Memory Trace

Memory Trace, the first project in The Erasure Trilogy

Fazal Sheikh’s camera is a camera that knows that the anguish at the origin of sight is the anguish that comes from the loss of memory, not only from forgetting or amnesia, but from the effacement of traces. This is why its first desire is to preserve memory. In Memory Trace, we encounter a kind of visual poem dedicated to the past, but to a past that survives in the present and augurs a painful and difficult future. Presenting images of the ruins left behind by the violence of ‘48, portraits of persons whose lives have been touched by this violence and ruin, and landscapes that bear the traces of devastation, loss, dispossession, and displacement, this moving collection of photographs suggests a loss that cannot be recovered but that nevertheless leaves its enigmatic and mournful traces. These traces bear witness to what many have sought to erase or to render anonymous. They tell us that memory emerges from ruins—faces, landscapes, and remnants of buildings—that create their own modes of expression.