[ISEA2009] Paper: Una Walker – Whose past is it anyway: the use of digital databases in exploring personal and collective memory


This paper explores a number of concepts and questions in relation to an unfinished data-based art project with which I have been engaged since 2004. These are concerned with the agency of the individual in the construction of the history of the recent past, and the tension between lived experience and the official record. This tension may encompass differing versions of the same event, but may also reflect differing ideas on which events deserve focus. In addition there may be conflict within the individual about the ownership of the recent past; if events – which form part of your autobiographical narrative have been incorporated into the official record, then who owns the memories? The paper also explores the idea of the ‘narrative unconscious’, which may operate at both the personal autobiographical level, and the authorised accounts of the recent past.

  • Dr Una Walker National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland

Full text (PDF)  p. 314-320