Diary Forms: 15 Years

Before returning to school for spring semester this year, I spent my time converting 15-year-old home movies to my computer. I knew that these videos would come in handy for this course since my favorite works of art focus on nostalgia and childhood. I toyed with how to incorporate these experiences and feelings into my own project. Initially, I thought of several ways I could pay homage to my childhood. I considered incorporating found objects, letters to my five-year-old self, and personal photographs. I realized, though, that the heart of my project was the home videos.

The final installation

Throughout the entirety of the semester, I easily pieced together segments of videos from myself in 2008 and struggled to incorporate clips of myself now, in 2023. Once I filmed and placed footage of my present day life, I decided to reedit the film and focus solely on clips from my fifth birthday party. My next step was to fill this gap through the actual installation. Scrambling for something to project the video onto, I found scrap construction paper laying around and decided to use that. On the edges of the paper, I doodled things I used to write on the walls when I was younger. The wall was my canvas, and I wanted to convey that somehow. I tried placing a table amassed with books and pens in front of the makeshift screen, but it did not feel right. Once I moved the location of my installation and kept the projector on the floor, I had a clearer sense of what I was going to use to make my current presence within the project known.

On my first birthday, I was gifted an age number candle. This candle is shown in the film, still practically good as new. When I turned 15, I accidentally melted the candle down to 21 overnight. I decided to use the disfigured candle in my project as a way to express the mourning of my own childhood and the idea that I cling onto pieces of it as much as possible. The candle serves as a vigil for what once was, and accepts what is now.

My age candle used in the installation

I am incredibly proud of this project and what it has molded into. I feel successful in conveying the emotions of nostalgia and longing for childhood based on the critiques I received this semester. Moving forward, I think I would like to create a more immersive experience for this film. I would do this by replicating the rooms shown in the video, also including gifts and decorations that were featured. However, for a semester long project, I am satsified with what it became.

A segment from the film
Author: Chloe Tomasso