Julie Rafalski

Residency in Börstingen - 11

In Proust's Binoculars, Robert Shattuck writes of how Marcel Proust looked at time past and the process of remembering. Amongst other insights, Shattuck draws attention to forgetting as an important aspect in the process of remembering.

He writes, "If an image or sensation out of the past is to be truly recognised in the Proustian sense and not merely recollected, it must be summoned back by a related experience in the present and after a period of absence." If an image or sensation is always there (like a tea cup we see everyday), seeing it becomes habitual and it is hard to see this everyday object in a new light. But if we forget something completely, and for years and years it remains forgotten, until suddenly we see a bubble gum wrapper that reminds us of our childhood home, then we experience what Proust called true memory or recognition. In that moment the memory of our childhood home is very vivid and striking.

To create that vivid and striking quality, though, that memory had to be forgotten for a time, buried in the unconscious.

Forgetting is part of remembering.