Meta Memory:

Digital Facsimile Retrospection Decontextualized



Memory provides us the ability to build upon previous experiences creating context for navigating conversations, day-to-day tasks and life itself. Until recent history, the brain and body served as the sole means of retaining information through written, drawn, verbal and visual expression and documentation. With the advent of photography, audio recording and film, biological memory gained additional storage and recollection capabilities allowing moments and experiences to be preserved for later viewing and sharing. Paving the way for almost exponential experiences and documentation, digital technology could theoretically be a viable way to document first person experiences of every moment of a life. A relatively new lens, digital technology through video, photography, audio, augmented and virtual reality creates a facsimile of an experience, a new experience that becomes a unique and real memory that is studied, considered and recontextualized as a separate experience from the actual and/or original.


Through social media and various methods of file exchange, the ability to share the ubiquitous digital memory and experience becomes easier creating public accessibility and sharing at an unprecedented rate. Even though the experience originates in the past, these new impressions live on reshaping future experiences and conversations.


When processing this new experience, several questions arise. What is the value of these saved experiences? Who is the owner? How do these facsimiles evolve over time to become real lived experiences? How do these recontextualized experiences influence our future decisions and experiences? What are the criteria for delineating the difference of private versus public information? Do people reveal too much about their personal experiences? What is privacy? Influenced by the bright color palette and process of Australian Aboriginal “dreamings”, Meta Memory: Digital Facsimile Retrospection Recontextualized culls through my personal images placing them in a high visibility environment while still preserving the privacy and sacredness of the moment.


Dreamings, one of the oldest art traditions in the world, represent personal family stories passed down through the generations reflecting the earth’s origins as known by Aboriginals. Observed experiences connected to their environment, these stories were originally ephemeral, finding their way into celebration and ceremony recorded on bodies, dirt, trees or rocks. During the 1970s, the Aboriginals began using acrylic paint and canvas to preserve these stories. Because of the personal and sacred nature, choices were made about how much to reveal in public. Some aspects of the stories are left out.


Combined with social media, digital artifacts can reveal more than some individuals may desire. My goal is to take moments in time and nest them into one memory, modifying and tweaking each image set until the original context is indecipherable, a visual encryption. The outside viewer no longer has free access to the memory even though it is made public.


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