Selective Memory Theatre2011

A new perception in focus on the right and the corresponding memory on the left.

Selective Memory Theatre is a machine-like perception and memory installation, that thematises the desire to teach the non-forgetting digital memory to forget. It thereby covers the selectionistic nature of the individual mind, that marks the human sensing and remembering as the subjective and biased – but therefore human and functional – act that it is. The installation consists of two projections, the perception and the memory layer. Both will be explained in what follows.


Images from the perception layer.

The perception layer represents the sensory memory before any priorities have been chosen. It receives the newest images from flickr which get distorted, mixed and blended to persuade sensory noise. The memory layer is a metaphor for the short- and long-term memory. It is the place where existing memories can be activated by new perceptions, and thus be called to mind. The perception layer asks the memory layer for each new image if it is similar to already existing memories. This happens based on the tags the flickr images are provided with. If a relevant image is found, it gets focused in the perception layer so that it stands out. At the same time the most similar memory is activated inside the memory layer. Both images enter into a dialogue representing the connection of the new perception and the old memory. Afterwards, the newly sensed image gets saved inside the memory layer so that the criteria for newly sensed images is changed. This demonstrates the interrelation between perception and memory that oblivion results from.


Selective Memory Theatre was programed in C++ using OpenFrameworks.