Reconsolidation Machine

Individual Exhibition and performance, GEMÄLDEGALERIE, part of Giving Contours to Shadows project by NBK and Savvy Contemporary, Berlin, Germany 2014
Project in collaboration with Christoph Ploner (Neuroscientist)

Memory reconsolidation allows you to adopt the cerebral representations of your past to the demands of your actual context. With the passage of time, memories may drift from an initial vantage point towards representations that are more congruent with the concepts that you have of yourself or that society inflicts on you. Legal, religious and psychotherapeutic rituals may support reconsolidation of those memories that resist this process.

Reconsolidation Machine is an art and research project by the neurologist and neuroscientist Dr. Christoph Ploner and the artist and independent curator Márcio Carvalho. The project investigates how technologies and practices of remembering have been influencing individuals and groups to remember and/or forget past events; more specifically the ways by which autobiographical or collective memory have been reconsolidated by biological, social or political memory disruptions.

The first phase of the project proposes to think about memory reconsolidation through the confessional object. The act of confession exist in people's everyday life, between friends, family, etc. Yet, religion ritualized confession, becoming a performative/narrative behavior, in which the person acknowledges thoughts or actions considered sinful or morally wrong within the confines of it's own religion. The confessional can be considered a technology that gives a performative dimension to remembering and forgetting.

Memories they don’t disappear through the action of confession. Instead they change. By designing the confessional, church created a way to re-consolidate the memories of a believer by erasing guilt and regret.

Photo credits: Emma Haugh and Joana Voa