Conversations with Susan Hiller

Is that you Susan?

The groundwork for Remember to Forget has appeared in my projects since my brain injury in 2014. Projects like score, 20, or balaena. And researching the who, what, why, where, and when, of how we remember and forget remains ongoing.

It was in Cabinet Magazine issue 42, Forgetting where I found a postcard by Susan Hiller entitled Remember to Forget. It felt like a gift. The imagery, depicting an old-fashioned ritual of remembering, and the words – contradicting and embracing the ritual simultaneously. It made me laugh at my own personal rituals of remembering. It also made me slump in my seat. It was if Susan called me out to say, “stop right there, stop what you are doing right now,” forcing me to take a long hard look at how far I had taken my daily rituals, and how they bordered self-flagellation. 

I refer to Susan by her first name because, posthumously, it feels like I found a friend. She might like that, given her affection for ghosts.

Since encountering Susan’s postcard, there has been a shift. I am not so quick to counter the ways my memory betrays me because trying to remember is no longer the point. Her project gave me permission to exist with what I have. And that is why I chose the name of her project as the title for my current piece. 

Remember to Forget is an offer of relief.