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Sara Allen: Mapped Memories

Daniel Arts Center
Lower Lobby
On view through March 4th

Sara Allen Image 2

Artist's Statement

"Without the binding force of memory, experience would be splintered into as many fragments as there are moments in life" – Eric Kandel, In Search of Memory

Memories create the very infrastructure of our existence. From the day we were born, we are constantly recalling learned information to accomplish day-to-day tasks. My work examines the seemingly simple, yet undeniably intricate concept of memories. While we know memories are single moments that we summon to our conscious minds, we often do not consider them at their biological level: simple neuronal activity within our brains.

Our memories are easily warped. Studies have shown that often what we believe we are remembering from the past are actually false interpretations that our minds re-create. My interest in memories delves much further than the realms of nostalgia and emotion related to them; I am concerned with memories in terms of their scientific expressions and behavior.

This installation is a visual presentation of “mapping” memories, both physically and neurologically. All memories begin with a “trigger” or association. Each porcelain capsule represents a single moment in the past. The ceramic objects enclosed within represent these triggers, igniting each memory as a spark from the past. The etched drawings on the outside of each capsule offer an interpretation of the neural activity, or biological mapping of each memory. Surrounding each capsule are porcelain panels or maps, physically showing locations of where each memory occurred. The panels push and pull from the surface of the wall as a sort of undulation of thought. Together these objects create a woven trail, or collage of events.

Although the events and imagery depicted in the work are of personal affiliation, I believe the subject matter of this installation is applicable to all. It is my hope that by experiencing this installation, the viewer will have gained an awareness of the structural networking of their memories.

Sara Allen Image 1