Shoebridge, P., & Simons, M. (2011). Welcome to Pine Point. NFB Interactive.
Interactive PDF, memory, multimodality, Pine Point, community.
Shoebridge and Simons document the life and death of Pine Point: a small mining town in Canada’s North Territories that was demolished shortly after the mine closed in 1987. Going through various townspeople recollections, the authors explore several themes: the enigma of human memory, nostalgia, insiders and outsiders, and physicality and mentality.
“Memory is funny. Specific and vague. Visceral and unreliable. Truth, and fiction.”
“From the moment an event occurs, it is simplified and purified in memory. We shave off the rough edges and what happened becomes a story or even, over time, a legend. It we’re not careful, though, we grind it down to raw superlatives, with none of the banalities or complications that make truth feel true. So often a memory depends on who we need to be at the moment of remembrance. Sometimes it’s better to believe that we accomplished the impossible.”
“Who can relate to an entire town closing except people whose town has closed?”
Throughout the piece, the authors speculate on the ways memory is or is not accurate. In some cases, they question its accuracy. For example, the town bully: he remembers himself as being an undefeated champion in a sport, while the authors speculatively present his memory. On the other hand, they claim that the Pine Pointers’ memories are untouched because the town’s original infrastructure was untouched (or never developed–no Arby’s), their “recollection will always be the most accurate version of that place and time.”
So what are things that cloud memory? Is it clouding, or is Truth so inaccessible, especially reflectively, that memory is truth? Can truth and memory even be compared?