memory of the museum

 

 

Memory of the Museum combines sound and visual art in a multisensory experience, functioning as a physical representation of the act of remembering a day of play at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota.

By reducing sensory stimuli from sounds, colors, and textures found in the museum, children and I created memory fragments. Much like how we remember, the fragmented memories come together, piece by piece, to be viewed as a whole. Memory of the Museum aims to celebrate both the museum and the art that is inherent in our world by creating an experience for viewers that can be shared as something both new and an act of remembrance.

The formation of a memory takes three stages, encoding, consolidation, and retrieval; likewise, the formation of Memory of the Museum commenced in a similar manner. First, the period of encoding, the stage where the sensory elements of memory are reduced in order for it to be saved in the brain, was initiated. Information about the tactile, auditory, and visual elements in the museum was collected. Then, consolidation occurred and memories became strengthened, modified, and saved as apart of long term memory. This was done by using the previously encoded sensory information to create a physical manifestation of the memory.  The tactile sensory information was used to create textured collagraph plates. Using colors found throughout the museum, children were invited to join in the process of printing the textures, creating representations of memory fragments. Finally, the pieces were brought together and reconstructed for retrieval, or the act of remembering. The prints were hung overlapping inside the window and paired with pieces of audio to demonstrate how the fragmented pieces of memory work together to create a holistic view of an event when illuminated.

The making of Memory of the Museum was itself a memory made. An objective of this piece was to create a representation of a memory that many viewers could share, have shared, and empathize with. However, as children and I worked together to create this memory and they shared their stories, I realized that our memories of the museum will be vastly different, but most importantly, that diversity is beautiful. The piece simply provides a platform for remembrance; we may look at the same texture and be reminded of the same specific element in the museum, but we may be greeted by different episodic memories, different times we remember engaging with that texture. Although our memories may be different, as the artist, it is my hope that those who engage with this piece will nonetheless be reminded of the creative and exciting experience of play and will be inspired to continue learning and embracing the beauty that surrounds us.