“Media in their various layers embody memory: not only human memory but the memory of things, of objects, of chemicals, and of circuits.” (Hertz and Parikka 2011:142).
Human Memory Database (HMD) is a prototype of what could be if artificially intelligent systems began to interpret human memories, generating visual and audio representations that created a twisted version of the past. In "The Agency At The End Of Civilisation" net-artist Stanza (2014) crafts an experience through the use of false narratives and surveillance imagery. Using an array of real time footage from street cameras, screens, wires, and sounds, Stanza creates a different point of view of the city and how humans interact with it. "A Truly Magical Moment" by Adam Basanta (2016) and "Vision Machine #3" by Björn Schülke (2014) both engage the viewer through actual interaction with their respective works and other observers. They come alive with the audience's presence, allowing for agency and emergent narratives. The aim of Human Memory Database is to probe how a non-human intelligence might organize and encounter pieces of individual, human, lived experiences; creating a distorted version of reality and giving agency to the user. This project therefore asks: what would it mean to database our collective histories and imaginations?
Designed as a prototype and interface, the Human Memory Database gives the impression to the viewer that it holds thousands of memories. Technically, the project is made up of different parts that interact with each other. A database keeps the human memories as strings. The system’s artificial intelligence parses these memory strings and generates tags, and the tags are used to select three different image categories and audio layers that will be displayed when the user accesses the memory display interface. The node navigation interface, where the viewer can browse through all available memory nodes, mixes an aesthetic of high-end technological interfaces with visual artefacts like the ones produced by old cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors that cause sporadic screen glitches. This places this system in an imaginary past-future world that may have once, and might still, exist. The system carries individual human memories and it also connotes memory through its’ design and aesthetic where it portrays a technological moment in time.
– Frederico Machuca, 2017