Elizabeth Hewson

Elizabeth Hewson

United Kingdom, born in 1991

Photographs crystallize moments from our past; they leave a physical trace that recalls feelings and memories relating to a single instant frozen in the memory. But what is their significance when they record a moment longforgotten? Hewson’s project explores the relationship between the photographic medium and this twilight zone of human memory. The artist starts from her own personal experience, digging out old family photos that show events from her childhood she no longer recollects. The images of these lapses of memory are then converted into digital files and modified by inserting in their constituent binary code data relating to the subjects of the photographs: place names, people, dates, events. Once pixelated, the codes present a distorted version of reality that creates the sense of unease we feel when faced with the erasure of part of our life. This discomfort is exacerbated by the distorted sounds accompanying the transparencies that are obtained by converting the original negatives into audio. Hewson’s installation thereby confronts viewers simultaneously with a projection of a disfigured image and with the initial photograph, but in sound form. The choice of media thus plays a crucial role in the artist’s project. The slide show, a common event in the social calendar with family or friends from the 1960s on, in combination with the “synchrocorder” that synchronises sound and picture, offers a powerful contrast to the digital, dematerialized form of the photograph. Above and beyond any autobiographical narrative, Hewson’s piece thus contributes to the more general discussion about the everyday use of photography.

University of South Wales, Newport, United Kingdom, 2011 – 2014
University of Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, 2010 – 2011


Elizabeth Hewson, Lacuna, 2014
Multimedia installation (slide show with sounds)
Various dimensions
© Elizabeth Hewson

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