Memories & Dreamscapes
This project examines memory and dreams and the interplay between the two.
How far can our memories be relied upon? Can we ever believe what our eyes are seeing? Do we dream in black and white or technicolour?
I have been influenced by the ideas of simulacrum and mediated experience among others.
Memories & Dreamscapes is a collection of work that examines how we relate to our subconscious mind.
Despite our total faith in the value of recollection, memory has been proven time and again to be
highly fallacious. Eye Witness testimony has long been shown to be a contentious issue regarding “truth”. As far back as 1932, Bartlett’s study, War of the Ghosts showed how our recollection of events are effected by our experience and understanding, a type of “effort after meaning” that leads each of us to “reconstruct[s]” memories to conform to our personal beliefs about the world.
As we get older our memory can be affected by numerous factors, ranging from disease to just the passing of time. In our younger years our memory can be impaired for numerous reasons, head
trauma, alcohol consumption, tiredness, and even nostalgia (the rose tinted effect) etc, can all have an effect.
Even though the weight of empirical evidence suggests that our recall is not to be trusted, the vast majority of us are convinced about the validity of our memory and great cultural and social
significance is placed upon the past and remembering.
Through Memories & Dreamscapes I seek to question why we remember some things over others and what are the factors that impact on this. We tend to recall things that have had a personal impact on us (for example, the first time we met our current partner, though we probably don’t recall what else happened that day), and other external factors such as colour and music can have a
measurable impact on our remembering something ( e.g. why advertisers tend to favour colour over black and white images: people remember coloured images for longer).
I believe there to be a link between memory, brain processes and dreams/nightmares. If our brain did not recall something (remember) then I would suggest it would be unavailable to our subconscious, or unconscious brain to use in our dreaming hours.
Some theories suggest a link between memory and REM sleep. Stating that our brain consolidates certain memories during this time (numerous studies point to procedural memory and spatial memory here). Mitchison and Crick have proposed that by virtue of its inherent spontaneous activity, the
function of REM sleep “is to remove certain undesirable modes of interaction in networks of cells in the cerebral cortex”, a process they characterize as “unlearning”. As a result, those memories which are relevant (whose underlying neuronal substrate is strong enough to withstand such spontaneous,
chaotic activation), are further strengthened, whilst weaker, transient, “noise” memory traces
So what is it that makes a memory valuable? Why are some memories, memories and others merely images and noise in dreams? Through photography, meaningful and random images, various
methods of reproduction, different uses of colour and washes, Memories & Dreamscapes explores these questions.