Making Memories with Ruth and Her Granddaughter Sarah

In this 2015 video project I work with my grandmother Ruth—my muse for many years—to explore her memories and the process of memory-making. We present a playful exploration of her past and present and, through the documentary process, discover new emotional connections. The video progresses organically, allowing Ruth’s memories and her reflections on them to unfold at their own pace.

To explore Ruth’s memories, we use conversations, music, dance, improvisation, and sound recordings. We also incorporate several of Ruth’s drawings, which depict her dreams today and her memories of her childhood in rural Oklahoma during the Depression.

The project provides opportunities to explore art’s potential as a therapeutic medium. The camera gives us license to experiment, perform and create. The process of recounting memories and creating art allows Ruth to make connections between her childhood and her life today. Our work also highlights the role that collaborative documentary can play as a tool for personal growth.

Video: 41 min total (Part I - 15:39 & Part II - 21:41)

Still from Making Memories . . .