From the first written words, to photography, using external memory aids to support our human memory is an age-old practice. However, rapid technological development has seen the evolution of artificial memory forms that endure indefinitely, such as hard drives and the internet. Tanne van Bree coins the term Digital Hyperthymesia to describe this, based on Hyperthymesia: a rare neuropsychological condition characterised by a superior memory.
By researching the emergence of Digital Hyperthymesia, Tanne anticipates the consequences on our behaviour, identity and perception of time. Her aim is to draw attention to this phenomenon, and to reform our cultural view of memory.
After all, human memory is a duality of remembering and forgetting. This inspired Artificial Ignorance – an application that offers a digital equivalent of ‘forgetting’. The algorithm uses photos of someone’s external memory to find visually similar images on the internet. These new images serve as ‘memory cues’ to stimulate active remembering as an alternative to the passive display of memories.