Artwork & words by Gabriella Achadinha @gabriella_achadinha
This series by Gabriella Achadinha plays into the coping mechanism of Nostalgia as Escapist Utopia. Using mixed media intermingling of photography, sculpture and collage, found objects from a specific year – 2001 – set the scene for splicing and fragmenting sentiments of the then with the now, the retrospective.
Chain letters conjuring love-doom if not forced upon others within fifteen days, stickers of a y2k era brimming with pink enthusiasm and surfer-girl zest, Tamagotchi fossils of a virtuous time teaching girls’ caretaking via pixelated eggs and steaming dumps – it was 2001, a momentous period according to the treasure-chest hoardings of an eleven-year-old. This past so carefully preserved is useless yet cannot be discarded by the sufferer of sentimental behavior, their existence alone serves as a proof of life of both a transition and an individual – a stepping over of girlhood to an adolescence. Nostalgia is a wandering womb morphed as a shelter from the uncertain, one which is best activated by tactile remnants triggering past particles of a time glazed in the honey of selective memory. As Gizela Horváth deliberates in Faces of Nostalgia, the nostalgia of the now ‘is not simply a desire for an existent, concrete home, but more for the abstract “homeliness”… we are nostalgic about the lost indirectness, a connection unmediated by computers, with other people.
The macroscopic of cultural trend turns slower, more easily digestible when intermeshed with the microscopic lieu of small town without the information overflow spurred on by the digital. Returning to this place of papered memory shows signals of the transition moving said individual into a specific direction – the scratched-out Barbie face as form of rebellion, the photos of a home signifying a continuous obsession with kitsch 80s interiors. This return to the comfort of the past allows for a rectifying of joy, one that patches the fracturing of a present anxiety. Once characterized as a psychiatric disorder, paired with mania and anorexia in the 1800s, Nostalgia is now viewed predominantly as a processing tool used to reconcile the ‘marginal, fugitive, and eccentric facets of earlier selves in a positive light’ (Davis, 1979, pp. 41–46 in Yearning for yesterday: A sociology of nostalgia). A re-making of the quilted memory, this threading power of discerning selects which splices allow for a self-reflection / a working of a narrative that fits best, permitting a golden haze of the then.
The Year 2001 sits in a stifling Grade 5 classroom longing for colourful ysies (fruit-flavoured ice lollies) from the tuckshop. The Year 2001 witnesses an international turning point of televised trauma.
We find the disjointed within the connected, the senseless within the understood.
Gabriella Achadinha’s website