We are delighted to announce the Buffalo AKG Art Museum’s (formerly the Albright-Knox Art Gallery) acquisition of Sean Fader’s “Insufficient Memory” (2020)!
“Insufficient Memory” is a body of work consisting of still photographs and a Google Earth Interactive Tour that examines the moment of 1999–2000 when the Hate Crimes Prevention Act was first being debated in Congress (and not passed). Inspired by the discovery of an old Sony Digital Mavica in 2018, Fader asked what was overlooked, invisible, or erased in the same moment as the digital camera began to revolutionize how queer people saw each other and their community.
Reconstructing this history from local newspapers and activists’ research, he traveled to over 80 locations where hate crimes had occurred. These were often unmarked and anonymous, with these crimes forgotten. He drove 15,000 miles over months, taking a photograph at each site of a hate crime murder in 1999 and 2000. Because local news outlets were mostly uninterested in these stories and queer news outlets were not digitized, many of these stories were difficult to find. He photographed the sites with the old digital Mavica camera, creating large-scale, grainy images characterized by a literal lack of resolution and digital information (in comparison to the possibilities of digital photography today).
While the tragic story of Matthew Shepard (white, middle class, big future) was the face of the struggle to respond to hate crimes at the time, Fader delves into the stories of those of lesser means to include all who lost their lives.