Lydia Nsiah

to forget

Art Book: Edition 50, movie tie-in story, format (closed): 235 x 175 mm, 10 p. (stamped in), english, supplement: photo & epilogue, price upon request | text: Lydia Nsiah & Found Footage, translation: Lydia Nsiah, George Schreiner, print: Neue Satz Wien, Sarah Bogner, layout: Flora Klonner, supported by wienkultur & Bildrecht Wien, 2019, photos by Markus Oberndorfer

The art book is part of my work series on forgetting. It includes the movie tie-in story of to forget (Film with the same title – see Works) written by myself and paraphrased sentences out of fiction novels by Audre Lorde, Octavia E. Butler, Lydia Davis, James Baldwin, Andy Warhol et al. These excerpts deal with stories on the forgetting of love, of good and bad experiences, of family, of points of origin, of personas, of the future, present and past. In my (re)appropriation these sentences are ‘implanted‘ in my own short fiction story. To stamp in the ephemeral of the reading process as such, the text is engraved into the white pages of the book. As supplement I include an epilogue and a photo print each in black and white.

I can see a murder mystery one night, and then see it a second time the next night and still not know who did it until the very last minute. So I know there’s something really wrong with me. I mean, if I can sit there and watch it again the next night, and still not know who the murderer is again until the very last minute . . . And I’ll be just as curious and just as on-the-edge-of-my-chair waiting to find out, and just as shocked as I was the night before. If I’ve seen it fifteen times, then maybe one time out of fifteen it’ll come back to me and I might get a glimmer of who did it. I guess time is actually the best plot–the suspense of seeing if you’ll remember.
Pale Grey glimmers the horizon. The edges of the woods in front of her are blurry, no clear end in sight. Deep Green and jazzy Red colour the image. She hesitantly turns around in a circle, pauses, waiting, that her surroundings change, and not vice versa. Around her nothing happens. She continues spinning, pauses, goes on, slows down and speeds up. Her movements change the image. Its contours merge.
She cannot remember. Like here she only sees blots and abstract forms. No concrete lines within sight. She closes her eyes. A glimpse out of a train window flares up, divided into Blue and Green. Her circling movements blend into the riding of the train. The exterior rotates through 90°. Trees and grass become geometric forms. She opens her eyes – still here. The horizon is covered in fog, the edges of the forests are still clouded. Anyways, she has to move, see where the foggy horizon leads to and hope, that this place becomes more familiar over time.
She walks along the only way in sight, down the hill. Bushes become trees and hug her closely. It gets darker, then brighter. The Grey grates on her eyes. Except of the chirping birds the forest is laming silent. Now and again the wind blows through the branches and leaves. Her steps sound extremely loud and echo back. She walks and walks and walks, rests shortly on a trunk, looks for eatable plants and grass, for water. Around her dark, high forests, no clear horizon. The light is gloaming like dawn – blazing Grey. She sees no sun, no shadows, cannot tell how long daytime lasts, until the dark swallows her. She walks on. Straightforward, along the chosen path. The birds hide, are not in view – but audible. She rewinds and tries to see something other than the glimpse out of the train in the dark voids of her visual memory. No way. Unnaturally loud Blue and mealy Green, bathing in sunlight. She walks on as long as seemingly everlasting dawn permits her. She doesn’t have much baggage. An almost empty backpack hanging on her shoulders, in it a bottle of water and the found Green. Her hands in her pants pocket, she touches a small bulge. It’s a note on crumpled-up paper, saying: They are all stories now.
Did she write this?

(beginning | excerpt of to forget by Lydia Nsiah, 2019)