Myken McDowell is an Edmonton based visual artist working primarily in printmaking and video installation. She received her BFA from Concordia University in 2016 and her MFA in Printmaking from the University of Alberta in 2019. Concerned largely with personal archives, memory, and their influence on one another, her artwork has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Recent group exhibitions include Hereafter: 15th Graphica Creativa International Print Triennial at the Jyväskylä Art Museum in Jyväskylä, Finland and Printed Matter at the Strzeminski Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz, Poland. In late 2019 she was an invited visiting arts researcher at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, Japan.
Our bodies are in a constant state of flux. Skin cells get recycled every few weeks, blood cells every few months, liver cells every two years. Over a decade or so, every atom is replaced, and our bodies are made entirely new. Despite this, most of us feel that we are the same people we were as children. We remember being children. We remember the houses we grew up in. We remember helping grandma in the kitchen before we were tall enough to reach the sink. We remember picking wild raspberries—braving tall hills and thorny branches to enjoy their sweet taste. Our bodies change, but the pattern of information we carry in our heads—the stories we tell about ourselves—remain. In this way, we are what we remember. This may be why so many of us fill our homes with photographs, films, and mementos—personal archives commemorating the small, joyful moments in our lives and those of our loved ones. While these spaces are generally limited to audiences with a personal connection to the material, they still fall within the parameters of the archive established by Michel Foucault in his seminal text, The Archeology of Knowledge and Discourse on Language. Foucault defined the archive as:
"First, the law of what can be said…but the archive is also that which determines that all these things said do not accumulate endlessly in an amorphous mass... they are grouped together in distinct figures… maintained or blurred in accordance with specific regularities…" (145).
In my art practice, I draw from personal archives and examine the spaces they inhabit. In doing this, I underscore theoretical concerns around the passing of knowledge and experience over generations—particularly at the end of life when a person's domestic setting has to be cleaned and organized. The lamp in the bedroom, the notepad by the phone, the scarf in the back of the closet—these items are laden with a newfound emotional weight. Similarly, when moving images are made still, then made to move again, the content changes in small but dramatic ways. By working between moving and still formats, I recast the stories these archives tell through successive iterations of the same image—the details of which are maintained or blurred following specific regularities of my own—calling forth the sensation of revisiting a distant memory or feeling. The source material for each piece goes through several filters, and the result is dramatically different: a new narrative emerges.
 Østby, Hilde and Ylva Østby, Adventures in Memory: The Science and Secrets of Remembering and Forgetting, Greystone Books, 2018.