Kerry Tribe. Mirror Tracing Task. 2009

Kerry Tribe Mirror Tracing Task 2009

  • Not on view

Tribe incorporates the physical mechanisms of moving images into the content of her work. H.M. is a reconstructed portrait of Henry Molaison, known in scientific literature as Patient H.M., whose case is widely known for having revolutionized our understanding of human memory. In 1953, at age twenty-seven, Molaison underwent experimental brain surgery to treat epilepsy. The procedure left him with a radical form of amnesia that affected his ability to formulate new long-term memories, while both his short-term memory and his memory of events before 1953 were left intact.

The work combines reenactment (Molaison and others who appear in the film are portrayed by actors) and voiceover (including commentary by Dr. Suzanne Corkin, a neuroscientist who worked closely with Molaison) with found images, text, and animation. A single film print is threaded between two synchronized projectors; through a modified looping system, two parts of the film (twenty seconds apart) are projected simultaneously, creating a dissonance evocative of what Molaison might have experienced. The fragility of film—which degrades each time its projected—resonates with the precarious nature of memory. The three accompanying photographs depict tests administered to Molaison, designed to measure his capacity to learn new motor skills, which he was still able to acquire.

Gallery label from Images of an Infite Film, September 7, 2013–March 2, 2014.
Chromogenic color print
20 x 20" (50.8 x 50.8 cm)
Fund for the Twenty-First Century
Object number
© 2021 Kerry Tribe
H.M., Mirror Tracing Task, Rotary Pursuit, Tapping
Media and Performance

Installation views

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].