Hey, I'm Jason! I'm an interdisciplinary designer using digital and physical experiences to tell stories about where we've come from and we're headed in the future.
If our memories could be exchanged, how would this affect our sense of self?
Oct 2019 - May 2020
"As far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that person; it is the same self now as it was then; and it is by the same self with this present one that now reflects on it, that that action was done." - Locke, Of Identity and Diversity
During a discussion with a friend concerning wisdom, we debated whether a man who is well read could ever become as wise as one who has lived through many experiences. There are factors of a lived experience that can't be reproduced in a story: the rush of adrelanine and feelings of fear and joy could be translated, but ultimately there is a distance that spectatorship can never surmount. Would memory transplants close this gap and eliminate the need to personally live through experiences?
Building off this idea, I proposed a donation center for happy childhood memories. Visitors could come and donate a memory, creating a physical token that would also be stored in a digital database. Others could simulate retrieving a memory by scanning a token, which would dispense a barrage of sensory stimuli that reproduce a memory.
One of my ideas was to have users sculpt their favorite toy in clay, submitting a physical token that could be archived and displayed in my exhibit.
I eventually chose plaster as a medium for the tokens. Used in frescoes by the likes of Michelangelo, plaster paintings are extremely archiveable and any ink exposed to the surface immediately dries on contact. The tokens would hold a representation of the memory of each memory based on dispensed ink patterns according to certain parameters.
I tested different the surfaces and observed the effects on splattering and absorption of ink.
Utilizing a layered construction that would hold the tokens in place while enabling ease of retrieval, the final donation board was designed to highlight the beauty of the ink patterns.
A crucial part of the experience was creating a space for users to recount their memories and reflect on them. By introducing this personal element, I hope users can become even more immersed and emerge with insights about their own sense of self.
With electrically actuated pipettes, different physical qualities like color, saturation, dillution could be programmed based on the characteristics of the memory.