A Present Through Memory

Working with memory means working with time. Working with time means working with the measure of change (Aristotle), which means working on understanding the world (Carlo Rovelli). Carlo Rovelli stated in his book “The order of time” about time: “None of the pieces that time has lost (singularity, direction, independence, the present, continuity) puts into question the fact that the world is a network of events. On the one hand, there was time, with its many determinations; on the other, the simple fact that nothing is: that things happen instead. [...] Thinking of the world as a collection of events, of processes, is the way that allows us to better grasp, comprehend and describe it. [...] The world is not a collection of things; it is a collection of events. The difference between things and events is that things persist in time; events have limited duration.” Rovelli’s statement about time and the understanding of the world summarizes the phenomenon memory in an incredibly understandable way. Memories are events, happenings, performances with a limited duration in the past. Our brain collects, stores and reflects images. Things that persist in time act as a portal to our memories from past events. Because our brain stores those memories separated by colour, form, sound etc., a memory can always be triggered by things that are slightly different to when we remember. That means a place I have never been before suddenly gives me a flashback to a place where I had a special experience before; triggered through the sound, the order of how the stones lie on the ground or the material.

My Piece of Memory

so we were walking
down a wet field slippery
and muddy
passing this old pavilion
mon plaisir standing
on a hill overlooking
a small path
slippery and suddenly
flashback of
a memory
sunshine and
a small path leading down
from our hike on the mountain
stones and gravel with
a beautiful view overlooking
that small path and one step
where gravel scraped
my naked skin when
falling downhill
how memories can telepath us
to the past


Our lives are created through memory. It is a phenomenon we don’tquite understand, something we live with every day but never really question.  Triggered through an experience, in which one place I havenever been before can provoke incredibly strong and clear picturesof a past event, I got attracted by the idea of studying and tryingto understand the phenomenon memory.

Understanding such an incredibly complex topic requires to break itdown in layers, make it readable on a different level and to thenput it all together again. Different drawing styles and techniques have been applied.To better grasp, memory is divided in subtopics, which sometimescan build up on each other but can also just be part of the big whole.

Moment of Memory

By redrawing the lakeside landscape of Blenheim Park, the moment of memory revealed itself. One moment happened to be on a straight path, on an ally of trees. By walking, the memory is slowly building up on a slightly changing path. Suddenly another view comes up, a change of direction. We decide to take the opposite direction and when turning around, the seen cannot be seen anymore.
The moment of memory appears.

Process of Memory

Memory builds up out of a process of reading. The more we experience, the more layers of pictures our mind creates. By removing top layers with sandpaper, a whole new picture of memory appears.

Time & Memory

The drawing is a document of its own genesis. Each new line changes the lines that came before it, and will be changed by the lines that come after. Lines register change in the drawing like rings in a tree. New layers of content aggregate, and are themselves changed by subsequent markings. Time is registered both in the reading of the line and the reading of the drawing as a whole.

Memory shown through an interpretation of geometric forms; 1. story

Voluntary Memory - Reconstructed Memory

Reconstructing memory has the characteristic of being voluntary. That means every drawing shows the process of remembering. To remember a past experience is a conscious act and a process of time. A voluntary memory is a picture or scene that has to be evoked by an involuntary memory. As soon as we put a deeper thought into a sudden picture it evolves to be clearer and bigger.

Hence memory cannot be reconstructed in one moment or in a short time frame. It is a fact that needs to evolve over time where change is constantly visible. Thus, it is not surprising that looking at works of art we can see a pattern that draws through, almost like a recipe. Through the process of remembering something over and over again and archive each bit in a drawing, we get that full picture of how memory actually works. Keeping that in mind, creative means like overlaying, fragments, fading, repetition, connections and a slight precision are evolving naturally.


A constant change
Around an object
An object in total silence
While people are coming and going
Leaving traces, trash, memories
Around an object in total silence
Never moving, slightly changing
Whilst the surrounding is constantly changing
Moving benches
Growing trees
It is called movment.

I remember me sitting on that green bench.
Somebody moved it again.
This time I was sitting in front of the pavilion.
In the middle of the path.
I could sit there for ages today.
Watching the people around me.
Watching people coming and going,
watching their movements.
Watching the surrounding of the pavilion.
Its constant change.
The grass being dried from the sunshine
but the ground still muddy from the rain.
The trees growing and creating a new space.
I remember sitting there for ages,
lost in my own thoughts, soaking up the fresh air.
Just like I used to do back home in our
garden on a warm summer night.

Experience of sitting in the space. Observing the surroundings, the view, the pavilion. Blending with memories..

Drawing of the attempt to exhausting a place/space through obsessively  trying to remember it

What is assumed to be there now, whenever now is, what was there then, and what is imagined (or narrated) by someone to be there / have been there.

Involuntary Memory - Coincidental Memory

Involuntary memory is a process of suddenly remembering a past experience evoked by certain objects, places or sounds etc. Undergoing such a process is an unconscious happening which we cannot control in the heat of the moment. Unlike the reconstructed or rather voluntary memory, where we consciously remember something over and over again, we won’t get a strong overlaying or repetition by trying to draw involuntary memory. Instead, the connection suddenly becomes a rather important drawing tool. One could say involuntary memory has the characteristic of illustrating the past into the present and by that building up our consciousness. Our brain stores past experiences by dividing each single element of the picture in color, form, feeling, sound, smell and much more. So only a slight sense of similar happenings in the present can evoke a past experience we completely forgot about.


  1. Rovelli, Carlo, Erica Segre, Simon Carnell, and Carlo Rovelli. The Order of Time. New York: Riverhead Books, 2019.
  2. Franck, Karen A. Architecture Timed: Designing with Time in Mind. London: John Wiley & Sons, 2016, 101.
  3. Last Year at Marienbad: L'année Dernière à Marienbad. Astor Pictures Corporation, 1961.