The Surfing Memory Syndrome
Steve Fagin, The Surfing Memory Syndrome, 2008, video still
UAG continues its Major Work of Art Series with Steve Fagin’s The Surfing Memory Syndrome. This multi-media installation features Fagin’s 2003 film Oliver Kahn, named after the famous soccer player from Bayern Munich. The film is not a biography of the player but rather a montage of famous moments in European soccer that Fagin alternately watches, reenacts and comments upon. Neither is the film an homage to soccer. Rather, Oliver Kahn is a dizzying detour into the question of memory – how it is constructed and/or reconstructed. In the film Fagin ponders the strange act of watching “old fart” soccer matches from the 70s. “As an American I have no childhood memories of soccer,” he explains. “Can you be a true supporter without memories of ecstatic victory and traumatic loss? Well maybe you don’t need the triumphs. But the defeats…one’s soul would be lost without them.” Defeat, in particular, is the psychoanalytic precept that fuels the “machine” that constructs both memory and its loss. But it takes a detective to unpack the operation of such a machine - how it hums along, churns about and momentarily breaks down. This is the work of Steve Fagin’s art.