21: Memories of Growing Up @ Summerhall
This video installation piece by digital artist Mats Staub is absorbing and moving
Do you remember the year you turned 21? Where you were, what you were doing, what kind of person you were then? Perhaps it hasn't happened yet, to which we can only say you've got quite the ride ahead.
21: Memories of Growing Up is Mats Staub's ambitious, fascinating and at times heart-rending presentation of many different people recalling and reflecting on that very year. Staub travelled around the world, interviewing hundreds of participants of different ages and backgrounds about thier memories of being 21. The installation doesn't present its audience with participants reminiscing in live time, though. Instead, we witness the interviewees listening to their own recordings three months later, filmed as they react to their earlier descriptions of their younger selves.
21 is insightful and poignant; there's something calming and touching about the humanity common to all the interviewees, whether discussing political activism during the Cold War or falling in love for the first time, there's the same sense of quiet, tender nostalgia flickering across their faces. It's why choosing to film the participants listening to their recollections, as opposed to actively describing them, is a genius touch. It seems that we're more similar than we think; no matter where we come from, the memories we hold closest to us as we age are ones of love, family and the early formations of identity.
21: Memories of Growing Up, Summerhall (Lower Cafe Gallery), until 25 Aug, various times