The strange expression Hair in the Gate comes from photography: the gate is the place of the opening between the plane of the film and the light of the world. As the film passes through the gate, detached celluloid fragments can ruin the integrity of the shot. With photography, professionals can check the gate for hair, but with human memory, nobody can verify your gate is clean. On the contrary: human beings are those beings whose gates are irrevocably dirty. Between memory and experience, there are only the ruinations of false impression and the distortions of recovery. Moreover, some of the most intense moments of our lives now come from and are reflected back from television, film, photography, magazines, email and the internet: the death of Ayrton Senna in a tragic crash; the emphatic gestures of a witness at the trial of Phil Spector for murder; the mutilated, blood-stained body of Sharon Tate. Newly discovered distant memories, flickering up from unremembered childhoods, are revivified in the present as a Frankenstein's monster of disparate elements, related only by the fact that they are harboured by you, in you, as you.
An edited excerpt from the catalogue essay Many mirrorical returns; or, self-portrait in a convex medium by Justin Clemens
Centre for Contemporary Photography
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Seven nights after dark