Pockets Full of Memories II, 2003-2006
2 to 4 screen projections, scanning station, 2 terminals,
Conceived as an installation on the topic of the archive, memory
and audience participation, "Pockets Full of Memories"
was commissioned for the public gallery space of the Centre
Pompidou Museum of Modern Art, Paris, where it was exhibited throughout
the summer of 2001. The installation has since then been featured
at the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, Rotterdam, February 2003;
the Ars Electronica Festival, September 2003; the "Aura"
exhibition organized by c3, Budapest, October 2003, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki, May 7 to August
1, 2004, and Cornerhouse Gallery, Manchester, January-March, 2005.
"Pockets Full of Memories" is an interactive installation
that consists of a data collection station where the public takes
a digital image of an object, adds descriptive keywords, and rates
its properties using a touchscreen. The data accumulates through-out
the length of the exhibition. The Kohonen self-organizing map
algorithm is used to organize the data, moving the images of the
objects into an ordered state according to similarities defined
by the contributors’ semantic descriptions. The archive
of objects is projected large-scale on the walls of the gallery
space showing various visualizations such as the objects positioned
in the 2D matrix, their movement over time, and textual descriptions.
The audience can also interact with the data online to access
descriptions of the objects and to contribute comments and messages
to each object from anywhere in the world.
At the start of the exhibition, the database is empty but grows
through the public’s contributions. The algorithm organizes
the data throughout the exhibition to arrive at a final ordered
state at the end of the exhibition. The phenomenon of proceeding
from small local actions (each contribution) to arrive at a final
ordered state is called emergence as the order is not determined
beforehand but emerges over time through the local interactions
generated by the algorithm each time a new object enters the database.
In this sense, the system has been defined as 'self-organizing'.
Produced in collaboration with Dr. Timo Honkela, Media Lab, University
of Art and Design Helsinki, (Kohonen self-organizing neural-net
algorithm); C3 Center for Culture and Communication, Budapest
(touchscreen data collection, hardware and software); Projekttriangle,
Stuttgart, (design and visual identity); Dr. Brigitte Steinheider,
Fraunhofer Institute of Research, Stuttgart / University of Oklahoma, Tulsa (questionniare and data analysis);
Andreas Schlegel, (visualization
programming); CREATE lab, UC Santa Barbara, (web software development).
With the financial assistance of The Daniel Langlois Foundation
for Art, Science, and Technology, Montreal, Canada, the Centre
Georges Pompidou, and the Office of Research, UC Santa Barbara.