'False Memory Archive': the new London exhibitions
Based upon fascinating research that demonstrates how susceptible we are to false memories, A R Hopwood's 'False Memory Archive' at the Freud Museum London and Carroll / Fletcher Project Space features new collaborative artworks and a unique collection of vivid personal accounts of things that never really happened.
Including a series of large-scale photographs of damage caused to the walls of the Freud Museum by previous art exhibitions and featuring an exchange with a fictional security guard, the project evocatively reflects on the way we creatively reconstruct our sense of the past, while providing insight into the often humorous, obscure and uncomfortable things people have misremembered.
Supported by an Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust, the 'False Memory Archive' at Carroll / Fletcher's new Project Space will comprise a series of works - developed by Hopwood in collaboration with experimental psychologists, members of the public and a cast of fictional characters - that reflect on the history and consequences of false memory research.
At a parallel exhibition at the Freud Museum London, Hopwood will present new site-specific works made at the museum, including looped night-vision video footage taken from the inside of Freud's personal lift and a film of a FaceTime conversation between two actors who have memorised a number of false memories submitted by the public to the Archive. The site of Freud's former home in Hampstead - an atmospheric interior that evokes a seductive memory of his life and work - the museum has provided the most potent of contexts for a project that seeks to explore the veracity of our own autobiographical memories.
Reflecting on the history and consequences of this provocative field of memory research, Hopwood has collaborated with psychologists to revisit key experiments, including Professor Elizabeth Loftus (University of California) and Professor Christopher French (Goldsmiths, University of London). The works collectively explore where the truth lies in a 'false' recollection, while questioning how a blend of fact and fiction can be used to challenge assumptions about memory.
The 'False Memory Archive' examines what role artists can play in representing scientific information to the public, while presenting research into false memory as a potent signifier for our times.
The national tour is curated by Gill Hedley and supported by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.