Lesions in the Landscape

  • 18 September 2015 - 22 November 2015

How does our individual and collective memories influence our understanding of society? Shona Illingworth's Lesions in the Landscape is a powerful new multi-screen installation revealing the devastating effects of amnesia on one woman and the striking parallels with the sudden evacuation of the inhabitants of St Kilda in the North Atlantic in 1930.   


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The past existing as a space you can't enter or feel - the future a space you can't imagine. - Claire


Lesions in the Landscape examines the complex impacts of amnesia, a condition in which the capacity to retrieve and form memory is lost, and the past is effectively erased.


A major new video and sound installation and accompanying Amnesia Museum reflect on the experience of Claire, a woman living with amnesia, interwoven with an exploration of the depopulated island of St Kilda - a remote archipelago located 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, in the North Atlantic.


A powerful analogy for the experience of amnesia, the ‘island with no memory’ embodies the phenomenon of lost connection. Without a past, without the capacity to create new long term memories, there is no basis for planning or imagining. For those living in a ‘permanent present’, travelling forward is as difficult as travelling back.

The exhibition represents the culmination of a three year research project in collaboration between the artist, neuropsychologists (Martin A. Conway and Catherine Loveday).


As part of the exhibition, a varied events programme of discussions, screenings and hands-on workshops will continue to question the role memory and place play in the way we understand and encounter the world around us. 


This exhibition is produced by FACT with the support of a Wellcome Trust arts award, with additional support from The University of Kent. In association with UNSW Galleries, Sydney; CGP London, and Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Art Centre.