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The False Memory Archive

[ 24 September 2013 | Print This Post ]
24 September 2013

HAVE you ever convinced yourself of something completely untrue? False memories, in which you believe an imagined or distorted memory to be fact, are more common than people think. They constitute a neurological no man’s land where the brain’s creative capacity for reimagination collides with the subconscious, creating a memory that blurs the line between real and unreal.

Artist-in-residence at the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths College, and newly appointed Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow, A.R. Hopwood, began collecting submissions to the archive from the public in January 2012 and has worked collaboratively with experts to reflect on the consequences and meaning of a ‘false memory’. The False Memory Archive exhibition is the culmination of this process, displaying a number of new works that explore this fascinating and apposite area of scientific enquiry.

The history of False Memory has at times been controversial, however, this project, with the support of an Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust, seeks to move the debate beyond this troubled past by using established scientific findings as a point of departure to create works that interrogate and reflect upon what kind of ‘truth’ can be revealed by a false memory.

The collaborations have resulted in a collection of works including a film of a hot air balloon ride made by a memory researcher on a camera developed for amnesiacs, a vinyl LP of ‘silences’ from word-list memory experiments and a series of one-minute recordings from the ‘end of the world’.

Jenny Paton, Arts Adviser at the Wellcome Trust, said: “Research into false memory has shown that there can be serious implications for the way in which memory is relied upon, and the extent of our suggestibility. We’re delighted to be supporting this work, which playfully explores and illustrates the fluidity of our memories.”

The False Memory Archive is a national touring exhibition visiting The Exchange in Penzance, The Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh and The Freud Museum in London. The project raises important questions about how humour and narrative can be used as a valid interpretation of scientific information, whilst exploring what meaningful role artists can play in cross-disciplinary collaboration and discussion.

In addition to these collaborative works the public are invited to submit their own false or ‘non-believed’ memory to the project website www.falsememoryarchive.com

A.R. Hopwood’s The False Memory Archive touring exhibition opens at The Exchange in Penzance on 28 September 2013 until 4 January 2014.

The False Memory Archive national tour is supported by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.

Photo Credit: False Memory Archive: Crudely Erased Adults (Lost In The Mall) AR Hopwood 2012/13


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