HomeJane Steuerwald film/video artist
The Memory Box 

The Memory Box was inspired by a recording of the filmmaker's mother rehearsing for her vocal performance in the New Jersey Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair. Her mother, Virginia Steuerwald, sang a program of art songs including Verschwiegene Liebe (Silent Love), by Hugo Wolf, Après un Rêve (After a Dream), by Gabriel Fauré, and A Call by Florence Turner-Maley.

The film interprets these three songs by constructing a work in three parts including the universal themes of loss, mystery, and love. The structure of the film is patterned after a "song cycle," a group of songs designed to be performed in sequence as a single entity. Usually the songs are by the same composer and use words from the same poet, but in this case the film's parts are unified by the vocal performance.

We enter The Memory Box by opening the lid of her great uncle's tin box. Inside there are family heirlooms - precious and perfectly preserved mementos of family histories. These are sensory memories - fragments of time past, salvaged from bits and pieces of film shot and collected throughout the years. The Memory Box makes connections between past and present, music and image, love and loss.