Have library access?
IP:3.236.143.154
  • Journals
  • OpenAccess

"The past is a place full of energy and imagination": Photographic Seeing and Memory in Colum McCann's Songdogs

「過去是一個充滿轉變能量和想像的地方」:科拉姆.麥卡恩《聲犬》的攝影視覺和記憶

Abstracts


Songdogs, Colum McCann's first novel, is a remarkable depiction of how photography re-conceptualizes and reconfigures memory. This novel tells the story of how the protagonist, Conor, retraces his parents' past experiences and relationships through the photographs taken by his father. In Conor's connection to and recollection of the past, McCann highlights the mechanical intervention of photography and the visual codes of its images in reconstructing the past, recreating memories, and entangling past-present relation. The exploration of the mechanical intervention unveils social replacement or displacement as photography repositions the photographer, the photographed, and the viewer in relationships. The intervention takes place between Conor and his parents, since the subject of most of his father's photographs is his mother. But, as the viewer, Conor feels embarrassed and bewildered and does not know how to situate himself while looking at the sexy or nude images of his mother. Moreover, these photos trigger Conor's memory of his mother's stress and suffering after his father publishes these photos. The interrogation of the visual codes of photographs reveals that there are two features of photographic seeing: one is metaphoric and the other, metonymic. In addition, it is owing to photographic seeing that the past is re-imagined and memory, revamped. Prominently, the reconfigured memory does not merely refashion the past-present relation but demonstrates Conor's negotiation and reconciliation with the past. Photographic seeing in Songdogs thus brings forth a vision of memory which is less a representation of the past than a place full of energy and imagination.

Parallel abstracts


科拉姆.麥卡恩的第一本小說《聲犬》以獨特的角度描述攝影如何重建過去、重塑記憶。這本小說講述故事主角康納藉由父親的攝影照片,回溯父母親過往的經驗和關係。在康納與過去的連結及回憶中,麥卡恩凸顯攝影機械干預,還有其視覺符碼如何紀錄、再造記憶,勾勒現在和過去複雜的關係。攝影機械干預揭示攝影造成的身份置換和位移,緣起於攝影師、被攝影者和觀者的角色,與原關係的重疊和重置。這樣的關係就落在康納與其父母親身上,因康納父親多數攝影對象就是其母親,當康納面對母親性感裸露的照片時,深覺尷尬、困惑,甚至不知如何看待影像中的她,更重要的是這些照片讓他回想起這些攝影作品出版時,父親對母親造成的極大傷害,母親甚至因而離家。此外,攝影影像視覺符碼在此書中顯露兩種攝影視覺特色,一是隱喻式視覺,二是轉喻式視覺,其結果顯示攝影視覺帶來的記憶翻新,不僅重塑過去和現在的關係,也揭露現在與過去協商及和解的歷程。因此,麥卡恩的攝影視覺書寫帶來的記憶景象,與其說是過去的再現,不如說是展現過去是一個如何充滿轉變能量和想像的地方。

References


Arrowsmith, Aidan. “Photographic Memories: Nostalgia and Irish Diaspora Writing.” Textual Practice, vol. 19, no. 2, 2005, pp. 297-322. Taylor and Francis Online, https://doi.org/10.1080/09502360500091576.
Baer, Ulrich. Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma. MIT Press, 2005.
Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. Translated by Richard Howard, 1st American ed., Hill and Wang, 1981.
Bennett, Jill. Empathic Vision: Affect, Trauma, and Contemporary Art. Stanford UP, 2005.
Boyarin, Jonathan. “Space, Time, and the Politics of Memory.” Remapping Memory: The Politics of Time Space, edited by Boyarin, U of Minnesota P, 1994, pp. 1-38.

Read-around