Prof. Robert and the way forward
I have to say I was genuinely glad to have consulted Prof. Williams on my Final Major Project. His head is in fine art and not photography, and this project has definitely become one with feet more in one camp than the other. The Prof. joined in on submission day in Yr 3 Sem 1 when my personal academic tutor and I went through my portfolio prior to hand-in and we looked at The unreliability of memory at sea level, which was heading in a similar direction. Some images from that here, to give you an idea:
He and I agreed (I was happy to, because for one, I understood his reasoning, and two, it got me out of a creative rut) that I should focus entirely on the destruction of photographs asking whether the destruction is the end of the memory and of the frozen time etc. The unreliability... had already gone as far as manipulating images to take them away from the reality they had represented. The plan now is to take them to the point of being nothing but the physical remains of that representation, and considering whether the memory of the destroyed photograph can be the same as actually having the photograph still. Photographers have destroyed (or damaged) photographs for effect before.
It has proved quite difficult to find examples of photographers and artists who go as far as destroying photographic images beyond recognition. I am burning some literally to ash and turning them into smears on a wet cloth. I had considered showing damaged photographs, but that wasn't enough. Stephen Gill buried his and put others in the oven to damage the colour layers; others he shredded and bound the shredded pages with shredded text, none of which can be separated to read properly.
Anyway, now I feel I can get on and decide what from the different ideas will go on the wall a) in the degree show, but also b) in the formative crit that is coming up on 2 April. My plan is to go with the images of shredded images, including the burning sequence, with the other images supplementary to those, in my portfolio and a key image or two maybe on a free-standing plinth maybe six feet in front of the wall. The crit will decide of course.