Scientific research into the phenomenon of false memories underpins the national touring exhibition 'False Memory Archive’, opening at The Exchange in Penzance on Saturday 28 September.
Artist A R Hopwood began collecting submissions to the archive from the public in January 2012 and has worked collaboratively with experts to reflect on the consequences and meaning of a 'false memory'. The touring exhibition is the culmination of this process, displaying several new works that explore this fascinating area of scientific enquiry.
Hopwood is artist-in-residence at the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths College and a newly appointed Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow. The False Memory Archive has seen him collaborate with artists, members of the public and leading psychologists from around the world, including Professor Elizabeth Loftus (University of California, Irvine), Professor Chris French (Goldsmiths, University of London), Dr James Ost (University of Portsmouth) and Dr Kimberley Wade (University of Warwick).
The history of false memory has, at times, been controversial. This project, with the support of an Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust, seeks to move the debate beyond its troubled past by using established scientific findings as a point of departure to create works that reflect upon what kind of 'truth' can be revealed by a false memory.
The collaborations have resulted in a collection of works that includes a film of a balloon ride made on a camera developed for amnesiacs, a vinyl LP of 'silences' from word-list memory experiments and a series of one-minute recordings from the 'end of the world'.
Jenny Paton, Arts Adviser at the Wellcome Trust, said: "Research into false memory has shown that there can be serious implications for the way in which memory is relied upon and the extent of our suggestibility. We’re delighted to be supporting this work, which playfully explores and illustrates the fluidity of our memories."
The 'False Memory Archive’ is a national touring exhibition visiting The Exchange in Penzance, The Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh and The Freud Museum in London. The project raises important questions about how humour and narrative can be used as a valid interpretation of scientific information, while exploring the meaningful role artists can have in cross-disciplinary collaboration and discussion.
In addition to these collaborative works, the public are invited to submit their own false or 'non-believed' memories on the project website.
The 'False Memory Archive' national tour is supported by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.
28 Sept 2013-4 Jan 2014, The Exchange, Penzance
14 March-19 April 2014, The University of Edinburgh's Talbot Rice Gallery
11 June-3 August 2014, The Freud Museum, London