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Caught in an indescribable bind between protecting oneself from past traumas and being susceptive to new experiences, Present Tense is an investigative study of memory.  Through the structure of a contained environment I am investigating the ways we cope with our personal history, and how those coping mechanisms influence our actions and reactions in the present. Present Tense is not a complete work; it is an on going practice. 


Performed by Marielis Garcia

May 22, 2019 at City College of New York 

Part of SideAffects an open Studio showing


“Forgetting here is as much an active process as remembering; both require effort and energy. Identity of any kind requires steering a course between holding on and letting go. Identity is not composed of a fixed set of memories but lies in the dialectical, ceaseless activity of remembering and forgetting, assimilating and discarding.” 

(Antze, P. (Ed.), Lambek, M. (Ed.). (1996). Tense Past. New York: Routledge)


As a part of the physical body’s subtle daily changes (life exists through maintenance of a complex dynamic equilibrium that is constantly challenged by intrinsic or extrinsic adverse forces, or stressors) our minds hold onto and discard memories simultaneously.  A series of studies show that we will willingly forget elements of a situation as a way to avoid the negative feelings associated with a conflict. Conversely, how do we ameliorate the effects of a memory we rather soon forget? The complex inner workings of the hippocampus plays a significant role in our reactions to others, understanding situations and making choices. Knowing this makes me aware, on a social level, that there are personal histories in the reactions of others that I cannot begin to comprehend.

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