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Reflections on memory creation and expressions of digital and analogue memory

Fig. 1. Shadows below the Fredikson-Stallard installation ‘Pandora’ with additional Neon EFX

Fredrikson Stallard piece for the Digital Memory Gallery sponsored by Swarovski called ‘Pandora’ is a collaboration between Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard, two British Avant-Garde designers.

This is a picture of the shadow beneath the chandelier put through a Neon EFX.

Fig.2. Shadow of Pandora – Before EFX

Is reconstruction of their work from a shadow by third part software now my memory, image and copyright?

Photography is permitted in the gallery, so sharing and transformation is both expected and encouraged.

Fig.3. Pandora – in situ.

Like flames in a fire just look. Actually, a fire place touches more senses with the smell of the fire, or damp people around it – let alone a spark that might scorch the carpet or the back of your wrist. (Now there’s an idea – though not one that health & safety would allow through).

In relation to memory, where I entered a gallery and did not take a picture what control does anyone have of the memory the experience created or the image I have?

If supra-human digital devices are used to store what we see and hear for later management and manipulation somewhere what kinds of permissions, copyright and privacy laws might we breach? How many people do you see and hear, and therefore place and potentially identify during the day – especially if this includes lengthy walks along the South Bank, across Tower Bridge to Tower Hill and the length of Regent’s Street?

Historically we shared memories through stories – creating a visual impression in the narrative and perhaps exaggerating interactions for effect. I contend that the most vivid ‘virtual world’ we can create is not a digital one, but what we create for ourselves in our mind’s eye.

In learning terms there is a lot to be said for keeping it simple – a story well told, without illustration.

The ‘bard’ holding the attention of the audience alone on the stage or at the end of a classroom. A speaker who is alert to the audience and well enough informed and confident to shift the emphasis and nuance of their story to suit the audience on the night. How can such flexibility be built into distance and e-learning? Hard without some live element and  synchronous tutorials.

Radio is vivid. Try some BBC Radio drama.

Fig. 4. Southover Bonfire Society – at the bonfire sight, November 5th 2011

For a super-sensory experience marching on Bonfire Night in the East Sussex town of Lewes meets all the above criteria and more:

  • Sight
  • Sound
  • Experience
  • Touch, taste and smell
  • and the emotionally charged atmosphere in relation to family, community, pageantry and history.

Mind blowing – things that make you stop and think (then come back for more)

Fig. 1. Lawrence Lek at the Design Museum

Two visits in a week and I’ll be back again next week too. Seeing and stepping into Lawrence Lek’s work is all the more fascinating as the journey of exploration, discovery, experiment and creation is followed in detail. Worth exploring for the person, the artefacts and the process. Worth returning to see the work of five other designer’s in residence. Worth returning for the ‘Digital Memory’ Swarovski Exhibition. Worth returning for gallery on innovations in sport themed largely on the Olympics and Paralympics. Worth returning for lunch and the Design Museum Shop.

Fig. 2. The Rorschach Test used by Lawrence Lek in his designs – at the Design Museum

Fig. 3. Lawrence Lek at the Design Museum

Fig. 4. Lawrence Lek at the Design Museum

Fig. 5. Lawrence Lek at the Design Museum

Fig. 6. Lawrence Lek at the Design Museum


The Design Museum 2012

Fig.1. Lawrence Lek at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, London.

Seen it once, then again with my 14 year old son – and for a third time with my 16 year old daughter next week. Potentially with other members of our extended family and friends too. I should have bought a season ticket.

The Design Museum is unique – I spent time with EVERY exhibit. I need a couple of hours every day over ten days. That’s how much it resonates with me – the stories, the process, the end result.

There are three galleries:


Fig.2. Jessica Ennis takes the stairs to the first floor seven at a time

Innovation in Sport – design with a bias towards the Olympics and Paralympics, with Formal 1, Le Mans, hand-gliding, surfind and a few other sports too. Sixteen sports people silhouettes on the walls in the stairwell – how do you physically match up to Jessica Ennis, Messi, Phelps or Sharapova?


Fig. 3. A 3d rendering of a crystal whose shape is formed by your presence and movement (courtesy of a Konex device and a laser)

Digital Memory – a dozen designers, architects and conceptual artists play with Swarovski crystal to express what memory is. Most mind blowing, all beautifully displayed with headsets explaining what is going on in the artist’s words and other interactive screens – and ‘augmented’ content from wif-fi and 3g.


Fig. 4. Yuri Suzuki at the Design Museum

Designers in Residence – six young innovators set a brief, there journey of discovery, experiment and creation lovingly recreated with video, artefacts, audio and displays – and a take-away booklet.

With half-term upon us where do you recommend taking children, young adults and their friends? How does this change if you are their grandparent or parent of a friend? Can you cater for them all? What might it cost?

The cost of getting into the Tower of London made my jaw-drop – £23 for an adult? £55 for a family ticket!! I think I’ll leave it for another 1000 years.

The Wellcome Foundation ‘Super Human’ exhibition and other galleries are free (and lunch is great too).

The Design Museum was £11 for an adult, £7 for a student

Where in the world do you go? We all have our favourites.


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