(His)tory: Private Memories and Public History

Installation Art


Thesis exhibition by Pamela Fernández, M.F.A.

Through a combination of sound, object and installation art, I examined how memories are formed, evolve, and later degrade over time on an individual and broader collective level. On the individual level I explored my personal connection to my maternal grandfather Memo and his recollections of decades of life experience. While on a larger level these memories are made three dimensional and collective when considering the immense influence of time, geography, place, and also media in creating and spreading collective stories that become memory.

Using the long arch of Memo’s life from 1919 to present, I created a historical timeline that compares his story, to Honduran and World history. A sound piece transitions from each of the plazas in an audio display of their multipurpose uses. Through it I began to merge the private memories with the public environment, as one’s memories are unique within a particular historical context. The back of the gallery is overtaken by a series of diagrams marking the physical boundaries of some the world’s better-known plazas. From Tahrir Square (Egypt) to Zuccotti (NYC) to Plaza de Mayo (Argentina), each space shifts uneasily between from a symbolic connection to demonstrations and revolts and the mundane routine of each city’s citizen as their paths crass each public space. My work then serves as a both a voice for the memories that percolate in our imaginations and also as an interrogator for the role that past events in public space play to tell our collective stories.


Mixed Media: mulch, sand, pebbles, concrete mix, and sound installation.

The installation piece, Plazas, combined with the sound piece, Heard About It, explores the relationship between the space, the historical and the individual. The installation is comprised by a series of floor sculptures representing the physical boundaries of some the world’s better-known plazas, including Tahrir Square, Egypt, to Zuccotti Park, New York City to Plaza de Mayo, Argentina. Each space shifts uneasily between the historical relevance of the plazas and the mundane routine of each city’s citizen as their paths cross each public space. The installation functions as a temporary space where memories of visited places mix with history; a place that questions the role that past and current historical events in public space play in our collective story.

Heard About it

Sound Installation, 1hr 23min

The sound piece is comprised of the audio from appropriated YouTube video clips. They sample a variety of events and moments one might encounter in the plazas; from protests in Tahrir Square to a Mariachi band playing in Plaza de la Puerta del Sol in Madrid Included in the mix are pieces pop-culture. Along with Plazas, it explores the relationship between the space, the historical, and the individual.

Carias Según mi Abuelo (or a Dictator According to Grandpa)

Performance, Curtain, Wooden Balance
Whenever grandpa Memo talked about politics or the violence in the country he would invariably say: “in Carias’ time you could sleep with the doors open.” He almost revered the man; to him Carias was excellent president. As I grew up, history classes taught me that not everything was good under his terms. The piece looks at how memory and history overlook certain details –and entire segments– that could potentially change an individual’s or society’s perspective. At the same time, the piece also reflects on how memory degrades overtime.

Pamela Fernandez

Madrid, Spain

© 2020 Pamela Fernandez all rights reserved.