memoria/memoir is a project about the elusive nature of memory, creating a metaphor for how we gain, we lose and we share memories through our transitory senses and emotions. The project was conceived by Carol Flax and supported by a Banff New Media Institute co-production residency in 2006. memoria/memoir premiered at Gallery 44 in Toronto, Canada in 2006 and was exhibited at Volitant Gallery in Austin, Texas in 2007.

memoria/memoir occupies the liminal space between object and experience, outer space and inner space. Like memory, the moving visuals in this piece are fluid, temporal, shadowy and ambiguous. The audio tells the story; the video suggests. The experience is an immersive environment in which the viewer both participates and observes, essentially composing their experience by the choices they make.

Employing a dynamic interface, the installation allows users to input their stories, call up their memories and those of others, and return and replay their memories. As the program acquires information, creating links from past to present via pattern matching, it emulates the processes of memorization in our brains, rewriting our memories each time they are activated. It also helps turn our individual memories into collective memories as each new connection is made.

The memoria/memoir installation begins by gathering personal stories told by visitors speaking into a microphone in a recording booth. Visitors' stories are added to a continually growing database of recorded memory consisting of text, audio and visuals. Once the viewer relays a memory, it is archived into the database and added to the collective memories already stored there. Through the connection of keywords linked to each visitor's previously recorded documentation along with other people's stories already within the database, a new series of multi-sensory stories are presented to visitors as they move through the space. The experience is an immersive environment that the viewer both participates in and observes, tying together the larger questions of personal memory, the way we record and remember, and how through the functions of memory consolidation and reconsolidation, memory is mutable and changing over time.

Back : Banff New Media Institute : Gallery 44, Toronto Canada : Volitant Gallery, Austin Texas