Open Space’s 2020 theme Manufacturing Memory examines and questions the dichotomy between memory, nostalgia and technology through an interdisciplinary arts programme.
What is memory, and how can we define it in an age where we have both organic and artificial memory at our disposal, each with their own specific advantages and limitations?
Human memory is an incredibly complex mechanism and despite advancements in technology we still don’t fully understand how it works. One person’s experience of processing information can be completely different to another’s – depending on a multitude of factors, such as how the different sections of their brains are connected, their age and even current physical state. Digital memory, however, is more static and consistent based on variables we can partially understand and, for the most part, control. Therefore, technological advancement could be defined as a double-edged sword, with its benefits and potential freedoms going hand in hand with new opportunities for control and destruction.
Curator and researcher Michel van Dartel states “The future is no longer the distant, mythical condition it once was to us.”(1). Our society has a constant obsession with obtaining the latest technology, yet still longs for the past. Political slogans tell us that we will be great again and we yearn for a time when it all seemed better. Technology has allowed us to become more forgetful, distracted, narcissistic and simultaneously enhances our sense of nostalgia.
How do these two different ways of remembering apply to our perception of both physical and virtual space? What role does the digital play in the context of memory, when everything is being ‘saved’ or ‘remembered’ in this intangible void?
Open Space invites emerging art practitioners to respond to these questions through the digital on Writing Space, the medium of food through Edible Goods, a series of discursive events through FORUM, or the Curatorial Residency. Manufacturing Memory presents excursions into different spaces and responses through exhibitions, lectures, performances, panel discussions and screenings.
(1) Michel van Dartel in Coupland, Douglas. Machines Will Make Better Choices Than Humans (2016), pp:2.