The APRA Foundation Berlin Multi-Disciplinary Fellow 2017

APRA Foundation Berlin Fellow 2017

Project Proposal: Visual Memories

My project is at the intersection of photography, philosophy and psychology, and it investigates the role of visual memories in constructing and reconstructing important aspects of our self in terms of our personal history. Some of our visual memories are shaped merely by the frequency and amount of exposure to scenes around us. We remember the visual characteristics of scenes and objects because we see them on many occasions and/or for a long time. Other visual memories are fixed by the importance of certain events in our lives, as these events are associated with certain places and objects. There are also nostalgic memories of places and objects that had gone almost unnoticed when being part of our daily routine, but gained significance as we lost connection with that place for an extended period of time.

My visual approach to this complex phenomenon is based on the creation of images of real and fictitious visual memories. Some scenes and images are connected to my own personal history, while others are part of several imagined (alternative) lives that I have never actually had. My imaginary lives and personal histories are constructed in scenes and among objects I encounter for only a brief period. I work with these “found” scenes and objects without being involved, emotionally or otherwise; apart from my interest in transforming them into components of the images of visual memories that relate to one of my imaginary lives, I have no attachment to them.

The project will tackle two theoretical (philosophical and psychological) issues as well. First, I systematically study the connection between visual memories and the construction of personal histories, as well as the role of personal histories in the (ongoing) construction and reconstruction of the self. Second, the photographic work is also informed by a theory of photographic illocutionary acts I am currently developing.

Combined Curriculum Vitae


Zsolt was born in Budapest, Hungary. He first studied literature and linguistics at university in Hungary, and later earned his PhD in philosophy at Rutgers University, USA. He works in aesthetics and the philosophy of art, focusing on the visual arts and photography. During his doctoral studies at Rutgers he also attended a number of photography courses, and he has been developing fine art photography projects ever since. Zsolt has been teaching philosophy of art, photography and visual communication courses at various universities in the United States, Hungary and Argentina. He is currently an associate professor at Budapest University of Technology and Economics and a research fellow at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. His recent research is focused on the philosophical foundations of pictorial communication as well as on the processes of interpreting and evaluating photographs. Given that genre categories strongly influence interpretation and evaluation, he is also working on a systematic theory of photographic genres. Besides his philosophical work he has been regularly exhibiting internationally as a fine art photographer. He is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the European Society for Aesthetics and the International Association for Aesthetics.