Lawrence Aberhart, Midway Beach, Gisborne, 1986, silver gelatin print
Historicial understanding also refers to what has been forgotten and the way that events have been expunged or repressed from an individual or collective historical memory. Remembering and forgetting are closely akin to one another. Thus acts of remembrance often become moments of wilful erasure and the desire to forget, paradoxically, produces the often unwelcome capacity to remember.
A leaf flutters from the scroll of time, floats away--and suddenly floats back again and falls into the man's lap. Then the man says "I remember" and envies the animal, who at once forgets and for whom every moment really dies, sinks back into night and fog and is extinguished for ever.A wilfully forgotten moment such as this, Nietzsche reminds us in Untimely Meditations "returns as a ghost and disturbs the peace of a later moment". Nietzsche's imagery of the detached single page or leaf from the parchment leaves of history gestures backwards to the repressed.