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marcos-lutyens

memory observatory, SXSW austin

Thanks to Alba G. Corral for programming.  Special thanks to Saskia Wilson-Brown for olfactory guidance, Jiayi, Shih-wen Young and Kevin Lin for initial help and brainstorming.   Thanks to Mike Bayer and his team of fabricators in Austin who did an incredible job through thick and thin.

Thanks also to the sponsors, Kodak, the team at Special Guest and Junior as well as Mitch Kirsch who enabled this project to happen. Thanks to Jasper and Yi-Ping for holding the space.

The Memory Observatory is really just a way of accelerating predicted reality into a tangible form.  In this case the subject matter is shared consciousness.

The use of imagery to extend memory dates back over thousands of years, but it was George Eastman who turned frozen memories into living ones by developing the idea of the snapshot. This was conceived of as a window, not into a formal idea of a moment, such as in the case of a bust or a portrait, but rather a real, lived instant with its lasting and yet spontaneous emotional imprint combined with the social dynamic of the moment.

In the Memory Observatory, we reverse engineer a synesthetic process to heighten the emotional state of visitors, combining sounds, color and smell. In so doing we create a state of enhanced consciousness, which forms the perfect environment for absorbing a sharable memory.

The Memory Observatory is not just a recollection playback machine to engage with others, but rather a laboratory to explore the permutations of a condensed and shared reality in space and time. As J.G.Ballard wrote in ‘The Crystal World’ : ‘Just as a super-saturated solution will discharge itself into a crystalline mass, so the super-saturation of matter in our continuum leads to its appearance in a parallel spatial matrix.’

The project is not merely inter-active but rather inner-active: it is its own genre. It is not passive like most art, culture or entertainment: it is highly active. Neither is it participatory and yet reactive like gaming: it is participatory AND generative.

 

Emotion

Emotions are linked to specific colors, smells and sounds according to a synesthetic wheel developed for the Memory Observatory. This wheel has been generated through research in the fields of psychology, neuroscience, olfactory and sound design theory.

Memory

The original experience or ‘meaningful moment’ is frozen as a snapshot within the photo library of the visitor until the moment it is brought back alive and augmented within the Memory Observatory. The aspect of sharing one’s memory with others through enhanced sensory cues is the focus of the exploratory aspect of this installation

 

Senses

Memories are formed, triggered and replayed through the sense centers in the brain, this is why we are using the sense of smell, hearing and sight to bring these memories back alive to their fullest extent and beyond.

The olfactive triggers employed in the Memory Observatory are composed by perfumers Christopher Gordon and Stephen Dowthwaite of The Perfumer's Studio in Los Angeles. They are created using sensory memory as a touchstone and are designed to evoke deep emotional and psychological states.

Yellow/Joy = Lemon, Mandarin, Lemongrass, Freshly cut herbs

Light green/Trust = Lily-of-the-valley, Damp earth, Bergamot, Fresh water

Dark green/Fear = Heavy green foliage, Spruce, Moss, Juniper

Light blue/Surprise = Transparent jasmine, Magnolia, Kodachrome Citrus*, Soft florals   —  *Includes Eastman Sustane

 

Purple/Sadness = Iris, Orchid, Gladiola, Heavy white florals

Pink/Disgust = Orange blossom, Raspberry, Narcissus, Rockrose

Red/Anger = Cinnamon, Clove, Pepper, Cardamom, Cypress 

Beige/Interest = Cedarwood, Benzoin, Hay, Tobacco

 

Summer's day = Bergamot, Fresh cut grass, Field flowers, Lilac, Cinnamon

 

Beach = Ozone, Water, Seaweed, Coastal citrus, Amber, Driftwood

Gathering indoors = Pipe tobacco, Spices, Cherry, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, White musk

Home = Vanilla orchid, Cocoa butter, Stone fruit, Light floral 

City outdoors = Asphalt, Wet Concrete, Skin, Foliage, Steel, Smoke

Unknown space = Elusive floral, Ozone, White musk 

Thanks to Alba G. Corral for programming.  Special thanks to Saskia Wilson-Brown for olfactory guidance, Jiayi, Shih-wen Young and Kevin Lin for initial help and brainstorming.   Thanks to Mike Bayer and his team of fabricators in Austin who did an incredible job through thick and thin.

Thanks also to the sponsors, Kodak, the team at Special Guest and Junior as well as Mitch Kirsch who enabled this project to happen. Thanks to Jasper and Yi-Ping for holding the space.