Joe Brainard

‘I Remember’ 2001

In this book, Brainard uses the form of ‘I Remember’ followed with his personal memories which created a new style of autobiography. Some of the ‘I Remembers’ are very generic e.g. “I remember Black Beauty” and others are very intimate and revealing such as, “I remember that for my fifth birthday all I wanted was an off-one-shoulder black satin evening gown. I got it. And I wore it to my birthday party”. Some of the memories he recalls are quite graphic and intimate as some of them recall sexual encounters which as reader you find quite bizarre, almost as if you should not be reading them.

All the memories he records seem to come together to form a very personal account of his life, creating a fragmented narrative of his life. In a sense reading his book creates a sense of nostalgia for the reader as you begin to recall memories from your own life.

In reference to my own work, looking at Brainard has been insightful. Not all memories need to make sense or go in a particular order. The narratives I intend to have on my postcards will be individual memories of family members and what they remember about the photograph and the memory associated with it. Often our memories can change over time, as we forget things or add minor details that never happened, in order for it to be the best version of what happened to create a lasting memory. This is where nostalgia comes in.

As my postcards will all be handwritten individual memories, the narratives will be linear and fragmented as they are recalling memories, some of which may not be remembered too well.

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