Ars Electronica, 2003

Scanning Station, 2003

DEAF Rotterdam, 2003



Pockets Full of Memories II, 2003-2006
2 to 4 screen projections, scanning station, 2 terminals, wall design

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'.

Commissioned by Boris Tissot at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. The project was realized 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.

Interactive Presentation


PFOM Installation, Cornerhouse Gallery, Manchester (Winter 2005)


PFOM, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki (Summer 2004)





Screen Visualization Animations

U-Matrix Objects Displacement Text Data

Visual Identity | Floor Plan


Data Questionnaire

Object Description 8 Attributes Demographic Data Overview

Table of All Contributions (Pompidou, Paris 2001, DEAF, Rotterdam 2003, Ars Electornica, Linz 2003, Aura, Budapest 2003, Kiasma, Helsinki 2004, Cornerhouse, Manchester 2005)

Active Map of PFOM data, Frankfurt Museum of Communication Summer 2006

Pockets Full of Memories: Publication in Visual Communication journal, 2002