Ross School - Senior Projects 2010

Student: Hannah Baker

Mentor: Alexis Martino


Title: Simulacra


Simulacra is an installation piece that I created for my senior project after reading An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume. Hume was a 17th century empiricist philosopher who believed that our conception of an enduring, individualistic self stems entirely from the associations we make between our sensory experiences and our memories. Related memories form bundles that are constantly rearranging themselves as we experience new things. Our individuality is created by our unique sets of memories and bundles. I wanted to create a senior project that would share a part of my Self with my audience, so I decided to create a loose visual interpretation of a "bundle" by incorporating several media to try and communicate the nonlinear, shifting organization of a "bundle" of memories. This senior project is essentially an experiment in multimedia translation: I wrote narrative poetry, shot an abstract, nonlinear photo essay, and created a short film that each attempt to convey different parts of my memories. I learned a lot about digital and film photography, the process of revising narrative poetry, and working in various editing programs. My final installation piece is comprised of 20 digital prints, 1 collage, 5 short poems, and a physical installation structure.


Video of my installation:

PowerPoint Presentation


This multi-media installation piece, inspired by the writings of David Hume, explores the relationship between my memories and my identity in a fragmented self-portrait. In A Treatise on Human Nature, Hume suggests that the self is rooted in experience, formed amongst the links between memories. Hume observed that sensory experiences are bound together in ‘bundles,’ connected by similarity and causality. Our associations between memories shift interminably as we gain new experiences, throwing our perception of the self into a state of constant flux.

‘Simulacra’ is a multimedia self-portrait in which I have taken a ‘bundle’ of my memories and translated them from transient thoughts into concrete words, images, and gestures. In this installation, I define myself by my experiences and the languages in which I attempt to share them. The words and images in this piece are recreations of the ghosts of fleeting thoughts and sensations connected by time, place, and person: a touch on the arm, a dappled forest floor. As I reflected upon my life, revisiting experiences both pleasant and painful, I realized that the truth of my past is lost, obscured by time and conscious thought.

I remember only my memories.

It is in these exaggerations, these shadows and blurred remembrances of past experiences that I found my Self. Caged by the edges of their pages and the borders of their prints, my memories link together to create a self-portrait, a snapshot of who I am now, told through memories of who I used to be.

I spent the past 7 months constructing this installation using film and digital photography, as well as collage and creative writing, to tell my narrative. Through this process I have come to understand myself better in order to fulfill the school’s motto, “Know Thyself In Order To Serve.”

Works Consulted

Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud. Dir. Louis Malle. Perf. Jeanne Moreau and Maurice Ronet. Rialto Pictures, 1958. DVD.

Auden, W.H., and Norman Holmes Pearson, eds. The Portable Romantic Poets: Romantic Poets Blake to Poe (The Viking Portable Library). New York: Penguin (Non-Classics), 1977. Print.

Before Night Falls. Dir. Julian Schnabel. Perf. Javier Bardem. Fine Line Features, 2000. DVD.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Dir. Julian Schnabel. Perf. Mathieu Amalric. Miramax Films, 2007. Film.

Edward, Weston, and Gilles Mora. Edward Weston: Forms of Passion. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1995. Print.

Hume, David. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Filiquarian, 2007. Print.

Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature. USA: Oxford UP, 2000. Print.

Irving, Penn, and Alexander Liberman. Passage: A Work Record. Ed. Alexandra Arrowsmith and Nicola Majocchi. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991. Print.

Lehman, David, and Charles Wright, eds. The Best American Poetry 2008. New York: Scribner, 2008. Print.

Lehman, David, ed. The Best American Poetry 1998. New York: Scribner Paper Fiction, 1996. Print.

Los abrazos rotos (Broken Embraces). Dir. Pedro Almodóvar. Perf. Penélope Cruz. Sony Classics, 2009. Film.

Solaris. Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky. Perf. Natalya Bondarchuk. Visual Programme Systems, 1972. Film.

STEVEN KLEIN STUDIO. Web. Nov. & dec. 2010. <>.

Winterson, Jeanette. Weight (Canongate Myths). New York: Canongate Books, 2005. Print.

Community Member (Details)

Christopher Baker (Photographer) – (select photographers, then select Christopher Baker)


Vincent Moon (Filmmaker) –