In the spring of 2020, during quarantine, I finally began to stir up my photo archive: arrange it, structure it. I started my work with the oldest photos I had…but what a surprise awaited me! Surprise, which later turned into a personal discovery.

The files I found were photos from a 2007 trip to Barcelona with my parents. For the first time in my life I held a camera in my hands and took pictures of everything, completely thoughtless. These were typical tourist snapshots. That was long before my deep passion for photography and a more conscious understanding of it as an art medium.

Since then, I have never been to Barcelona again and looking at photos I made of the city 13 years ago, I realized that I have a feeble idea of what this city actually looks like. Although I was always sure that I know. Because when I hear about Barcelona, the views of Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Gothic Quarter, La Rambla or Park Güell automatically pops into my head. Bright and colourful! Ultimately, I was there! But...

These are not my memories anymore, but images that are based on certain patterns, which are a mix of images of these popular places from the visual flow of mass culture. As soon as I mentally move away from the tourist attractions, the picture quickly fades away, becomes poorer, disintegrates into fragments and is rather fueled by very average ideas about the Mediterranean cities.

Yes, after the trip, not only images of sights remain in memory, but also pleasant personal experiences and emotions. Events, places and people that have had a strong emotional impact at one time or another. Very fragmentary, but seemingly detailed and firmly engraved in memory. Those memories, which in the circle of the participants of the action, after years, begin with the words “Do you remember?..”, followed by long, emotional and delightful discussions about how it was.

Unfortunately, the reliability of these memories is very shaky. One or another “conserved” emotion-memory, already in the process of being extracted from the “closet” of memory is instantly distorted by at least the actual states of a person at the physiological and mental levels, as well as by all life experience that has happened to him since the moment of the remembered events.

When people remember, they reconstruct. Does it mean that memories are complete lies? Definitely not! It means that people are telling a story about themselves and combine what they remember in details with what generally looks like the truth. Finally, our memories may be distorted by other people's memories of the same event or nee information, especially when it is so similiar to information already stored in memory. We can lose our memories when the synapses which are connecting with neurons disintegrate due to their non-use (if a particular memory is not used, them the synapses which are responsible for storing can be used for something else).

As a result, it is not exactly that specific memory which "comes to life", rather it's "distant relative".

Looking through those photos from Barcelona, I clearly realized how much I cannot trust memory and say loudly and quickly “I remember” as this is a potential road to cognitive distortion. These experiences excited me so much that I decided to reflect them in the form of a photo series.

In my homeland, we use a phraseological unit - “white spot”, meaning unexplored or little-explored geographical areas or unknown areas of something (the expression comes from the cartographers of the 18th century who left blank spots on the maps where the territory was not yet explored). But what is forgotten in fact becomes unknown, not explored. And if we imagine memory as a motley giant map, then the past events, as they move away from the centre (present), should look to the “cartographer” (the owner of these memories) to some extent covered with “white spots”.

To visualize my experiences, I decided to use white wall paint from the nearest hardware store, because the process of painting walls - erasing, covering up traces of the past - is very similiar to forgetting.

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