Copyright © 2019 Athina Kanellopoulou. All rights reserved.

διεπαφή: the on-touch project

2016, Installation and Participatory Performance (on-going), e-platform and video

water tanks, lights, speaker, laptop, chopper plates, rechargers,

Nothing is in the mind without first having been in the senses

  Thomas Aquinas[1]

 

The διεπαφή: the on-touch project focuses on the memory factor, as a function of the interaction with the Other and the relativity of "real space”. Is memory a permanent inner home, as Jung and Bachelard claim? How is memory defined and linked to the sense of touch and the interaction with society? How is each memory mapped/assigned to a sense, a situation or a person? What happens when the receiving end lacks a sense?

The specific topics that will be examined are the identity of the "I" through memory, the interaction of this phenomenon with humans, the management of this phenomenon and the recording of the first memories.

The memory factor is something that has concerned me since childhood. Recalling a large amount of information, I actually lived in a continuous past that only I could recall, while people with whom these interactions took place several times, referred to me as a library of living memory. Through analysis I understood that this process was a way to determine the "I" and to identify the time and space. Struggling not to leave any memory to be lost, fearing the demise of the "I", consciously and unconsciously, I realized I was functioning as accumulated memory storage. Part of this was operated by stiffening my identity and expectations, while another portion of this process was suppressing the growth and development of my life. My sense of touch was the one that I felt less associated with that memory. During a research, I realized that this belief was absolutely wrong, realizing that memory and mnemonics are a multi-sensory registration.

Scientists believe that touch is the most important sense for the survival. Man manages to evolve due to the proper sense of space and risk, which is perceived by touch. Furthermore, touch is associated with kinesthesia and the determination of spatial elements, which is truly essential in mnemonic functions. This does not apply to all the dimensions; one of these exceptions is time. Memory stores information efficiently, by using connotations, which act as mnemonic routes beginning and associated with the significant (mnemonic) loci. The linking of experiences and memories has not necessarily strong links with the concept of time and time sequence. The planning of a memory palace is not referring to a time sequence.

Realizing through personal experience and research the non-linearity of memory, I created a stop motion animation, the Time ColLapse, in which a clock that defines a heterochrony is starring, as performed by the memory. This occurs through an abnormal movement of the indicators, leaving only the day-light to determine the concept of time.

Through readings of books such as "Water and Dreams" and "Memories dreams thoughts" and "Four Archetypes: Mother, regeneration, spirit, trickster," I was led to connect the mnemonic process with tactile features, as I mentioned before. This was confirmed by Dr Solms Mark, who is highlighting thesynaptic transmission properties of the brain to record the long-term and short-term memory, and he mentioned electrochemistry. How is the memory associated with electrochemistry? How is the tactile memory defined by chemicals chemical bonds?

Researches show that the brain uses the process of electrolysis using electrolyte (water and alkaline compounds) for its overall operation but also for the memorizing of new stimuli and the recollection of already stored memories.

Thus, Bachelard’s point of view of the connection between the element of water and memories is not only on a semiotic base, but is completely supported by the science of neurochemistry.

Connecting these elements, I was led to the recording of tactile memory, through the print of the human palm, referring to the sense of touch, the trail and in social interaction. By using water as the electrolyte, copper sheets are corroded, in which the participant viewer leaves the imprint of his palm. So the memory of a being is preserved by tactile (and connects with haptic experiences). In parallel, the interaction itself functions as an experience for the viewer and is recorded in memory.

For these purposes aquariums are installed in the exhibition’s space, where the electrolysis is carving the viewer’s hand-print specimen. Aquariums are referring to the laboratory procedures; simultaneously, these actions indicate the internal brain processes. At the end of the electrolysis process, each one of the unique copper plate is suspended in space without the recording viewer’s identity, in order to maintain an anonymous record and to create a collection of information which is connected to one another but without the linking function/mechanism being known, accumulated, as it happens also in memory; this recording is being occurred  only mnemonic and it constitutes a site created by the interaction between the viewer and the artist using the laboratory as an interaction platform.

In the laboratory, in addition to the tactile path, the audience is asked to participate in an indication of the first and the most important memory that can be withdrawn, and it is related to the tactile mode/function/mechanism. These two testimonies are recorded anonymously in situ, on the installation environment, classified in two different computer file categories and stored in two formats, text and sound. The viewer can have access to the material of the recording through a computer during the exhibition.

Trying to keep a sense of openness to the laboratory works, all the testimonies of this workshop are presented as texts and audios on a website specifically designed for the purpose of the artwork. Its aim is to operate as a museum and repository space/site of tactile memory, accessible by any Internet user. Maintained testimonies/evidence in visual and audio form can be used by all people, targeting the access of people with disabilities (vision, hearing). The viewer can gain direct access to this site by scanning a QR Code or simply typing the address.

Finishing the laboratory part, the viewer obtains/acquires atypical access to the rest facility, in which he has the opportunity to observe his very own imprint be etched by electricity, as the same action of participating is recorded in memory, and other finished pieces hanging in the wall. At the second space of the installation, a projection (in loop) is presented on the surface of the wall; a special choreography created by hand moves referring to the tactile memory.

The artwork διεπαφή: the on-touch project functions as a kaleidoscopic memory palace, by projecting memories from a tactile spectrum connected with the space aspects and by creating a real place for each participant and viewer to input their memories and carry that platform with them imaginary in their own memory palaces, in their special inner homes, no matter where they are.

 

[1] Known as “Peripatetic axiom”. Thomas Aquinas, Quaestiones disputatae de veritate (q. 2 a. 3 arg. 19.),"Nihil est in intellectu quod non sit prius in sensu" (in Latin).

Exhibitions:

  • Degree Show of Fine Arts and New Media, Middlesex University, faculty of Fine Arts, AKTO Gallery, Athens