In Marcel Proust’s novel, Swan’s Way, he writes that memory is dependent on the moment and mood of the individual remembering. In other words, experience.

He stated before neuroscientists discovered that memory is always changing. To remember is already in itself an act of disremembering. In Jonah Lehrer’s writing, Proust was a Neuroscientist, the psychologist seconds that by saying, “A memory is only as real as the last time you remembered it.” (NY Times)

My research and studies in this subject since when I started has converged to the tension between experience and memory. When does an experience become a memory and how is it decided are the questions I want to experiment with.

Going back to my initial investigation on the end point of the internet and cloud storage, in an uncertain future of technological advancement, we do not know where and how these externally stored memories are handled. The use of the term “cloud” already kind of foreshadows a possible future in the meaning that clouds are actually the least permanent of structures.

In Anthony Dunne’s book, Hertzian Tales, he quotes Bertolt Brecht, “Alienate the audience and make them aware that the institution and social formulae they inherit are not eternal and natural but historical, man-made, and so capable of change through human action.” (p.36) He also talks about making visible the invisible and I want to make the subject of memory visible by using punched tape because it carries a more poetic and tangible understanding of a data in it’s historical usage. The punched tape was a tangible record of memory. My father said that when he used these papers, he could touch and feel the holes in the paper and can read data from physical senses but it cannot be done with cloud storage or hard drives. You cannot look at a piece of plastic (the USB) and “read” or “touch” the memory.

E&C shopping centre take over planning 2

Experience to Memory

Converging the topic doesn’t mean I am willing to toss out other perspectives but rather focus on certain perspectives for this project. I’ve concluded that consciousness is linked with memory and unconsciousness is linked with experience. We’ve become a society that is connectivity reliant, surrendering more and more ownership to the machine, and is exposed to a constant overflow of information without meaning. We use tags, keywords, categories etc. to bring back memories of experiences hoping to feel that same experience again. But I think that the only way you can return to a past experience truthfully is to erase the present. You may have tried thinking about a past event before bed and dreaming an extremely real scenario during your sleep that you wake up feeling like you went back in time.

This only means that with advancement, our experiences and memory are becoming more and more intangible.

I’m going to use the next 2 weeks of LCC studio takeover to experiment capturing experience, mainly being aware of those unconscious experiences. I am going to use various forms of recordings (video, voice, online data, etc.) and investigate various categories of memory banks.

Here’s a rough plan for the next 2 weeks:

E&C shopping centre take over planning 1


Social Media

Big data and artificial intelligence is being used by every social media platform in the hopes of predicting human characteristics and preferences. But it will be long before this technology will be able to capture emotion truthfully during experiences.

Transition of memory

Our memory categorization within the self has transitioned from remembering specific things to remembering the access to groups of things. When the amount of memorable things exceeded our capacity, we changed to storing them on external systems and just remembering passwords to access these systems. When the passwords exceeded our capacity, we transfer to using password memory systems like Last Pass. As the transfer extends further away from human memory, our memory capability is also diminishing. This transition allowed humans to remember more by controlling access.