ii — in the white darkness: about [the fragility of] memory

Description (in English): 

Strasser and Coverley's visual poem is a multimedia meditation on the nature of memory. By choosing pulsing dots as if from behind a veil, the reader activates collages of photographs and ambient sounds, representing the process of trying to recover lost memories, which surface and fade in and out of intelligibility.

ii — in the white darkness is an interactive piece about memory. The work was created by Reiner Strasser in collaboration with M.D. Coverley (Marjorie Coverley Luesebrink) over a period of 9 months in 2003/04. It assimilates and reflects the experience with patients fallen ill with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's diseases, showing the fragility and fluidity of memory from a subjective point of view. "It was not the erasure that mattered so much as the act of trying to recover what we no longer can identify." (M.D. Coverley) From the pulsing dots of the background-interface different events can be started, played, and combined. In this process the experience of remembering and loss of memory can be re-created in the appearance and disappearance of words, pictures, animations, and sounds. Memories (readable with a general metaphorical meaning) are unveiled and veiled in transition at the same time, arranged by or using your own memory.

(Source: Author Description from Electronic Literature Collection, Vol. 1)

This work allows readers a new way to conceptualize and empathize with patients who experience an illness related to memory. The interactive component serves to strengthen this empathy by giving the reader some amount of control over the memories, but not at all an absolute control, similar to the struggle an individual with Parkinson's or Alzheimer's might experience. This work could also serve as a means of spreading awareness about the illnesses by giving a real-life representation of the tragic feelings that come with losing your memories. In the modern day people may take this for granted, and it could be beneficial to have such a vivid reminder.

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Scott Rettberg