memoryMechanics is an interactive sound installation that explores how we as humans embody memories.


The installation is based on an archive of memories that are collected from different people, by guiding them through sensory experiences and into physical poses that trigger embodied memories. Their recorded memories are then stored in the installation for retrieval through imitating their initial poses.


Artificial intelligence is used to record and retrieve memories from the archive. Through the installation, a synergy between human memory and computer memory appears. Through artificial intelligence, a mediated physical space appears, in which the audience can walk around, position themselves in poses and hear the intimate stories of previous participants.


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Detailed description

The installation creates a space where participants can evoke memories from their past through bodily poses. Through cautious and sensitive support from a mediator, the participant is helped to find a pose that stimulates and evokes a memory. When a particular pose stabilizes, and the participant has linked it to a memory, an experience, or a sensation, the participant is asked to formulate a narrative about it.

The computer learns positions and the memories recorded, and when positions are repeated, the computer will playback the stories. In this way, the same space can be used to recall and replay other participants' memories. In this installation, participants can enter and contribute narratives of something they remember from their past, while others can enter and navigate around the shared memories by exploring the space and thereby activating the memories stored there by the computer.

The installation "choreographs" the audience while they are exploring the landscape of memories. They lift a leg, stretch out or spin around, to achieve an experience for themselves, not to show off. The technology involved helps to create an intimate experience with a tactile and organic feel. Because the installation consists of memories collected at different places, there is a bigger choreography over time, across the cities where stories have been collected and shared.

Read more here and here.

Setup

The installation has been configured to different setups, but in general, the following format applies:

  • Blackbox/dark room

  • 8 x 6 metres space

  • Internet access

  • Power 220v 16a

  • Rigging time 4 hours

The system uses a computervision to track participants in the space. Based on poses and placement in the space recorded audiotracks are played through a pa system or via Bluetooth headphones.

Credits and contact

memoryMechanics is created by Maja Fagerberg Ranten, Mads Høbye, Troels Andreasen, Lise Aagaard Knudsen and Karen Eide Bøen. It was initiated as a part of “Staging the Future of Technologies vol. 2” with the following partners: Click festival, Catch, Haut and Roskilde University Center. Sponsored by Bikubenfonden & Copenhagen municipality.

Contakt the following emails for more information: mranten@ruc.dk, kareneideboen@gmail.com, mads@hobye.dk, liaagaard@gmail.com

Research

This project has been created with researchers at Roskilde University Center as an ongoing investigation into the connection between the body, mediated experiences and phenomenological approaches to design research.

So far it has been published as a part of Maja Fagerberg Ranten's PhD dissertation:

Ranten, M. F. (Accepted/In press). Designing Bodily Interactions: The materiality of interaction design from a phenomenological perspective.