Team project with Hannah Park, Sacha Schwarz and Klara Troost

Matter Of Memory aims to archive personal, touching memories of humans beings into a digital field. By asking people to draw their memory, we then reinterpreted the two-dimensional images into a three-dimensional shape, with texture and sound. Thanks to VR glasses, the observer can enter the digital archive and walk through an infinite surreal pond. The external audience can simultaneously use motion-captured analog cards, each of them representing the collected drawing to move the 3D shapes in the digital world. Additionally, digital objects are brought back to the sensitive world thanks to 3D-printed twins. The spectators are thus involved in a dual performance, a symbiosis that connects the analog and the digital, the physical and cyber. By making ideas tangible, the same adoption of these digital tools and the methodological approach we used could be, one day, applied for broader historical collective memories of a society. Not only we could archive the beauty of events, but also the tragedy of the past to ensure a safer, wiser, and equal future for all.

But how exactly did we collect these memories? For a matter of time, we manage to translate only five memories of different people, who had to recall one of the following past events:

  • When was the first time you fell in love?
  • When was the first time a relative died?
  • When was the first time you became a parent?
  • When was the first time your heart was broken?
  • When was the first time you were proud of yourself?

Here below you can see all five final objects (which were interpreted by the two-dimensional drawings), to which was also added a specific sound and small quote from people’s explanation. All objects were also 3D printed.

When was the first time a relative died?

“I really felt as if I was outside of the moment as if I was a visitor. I did not take part in the grief.”

When was the first time you were heartbroken?

“They told me it was all just pretend. They wanted me to please me and other people, but in the end, it was all a lie, so I decided to leave.”

When was the first time you fell in love?

“Everything happened very fast. It was dramatically intense, full of beauty and emotions. I wish to everybody what I had.”

When was the first time you were proud of yourself?

“I remember understanding a whole new world I hadn’t been able to access before. At that moment, I finally made it.”

When was the first time you became a parent?

“First there was complete calmness. Then there was shaking, and then there was sound, like croaking.”

A few pictures of the exhibition in Zurich:

Our project, alongside the other works from our class, was presented under the guidance of our professors Stella Speziali and Lisa Ochsenman at the Design Research Festival of the Academy of Design Eindhoven, in the Netherlands. With the use of a digital room, we were able to connect the people in Z├╝rich and Eindhoven. Have a look at it here.

Thank you to all the people who participated and shared with us their memories.

I want to congratulate myself on the amazing team with whom I had the honor to work, and with whom despite the hurdles along the way, always kept a wonderful drive and passion:

Thank you Hannah Park , Klara Troost and Sacha Schwarz, for the amazing work with the rendering and the virtual world!