A-me is an interactive art installation that enables the user to experience people’s memories by navigating MR images of a human brain. The device investigates implications of dominant trends in cognitive neuroscience that seek to map aspects of the mind to the physical brain. Thus, it is an artistic intervention reflecting on the current societal role of neuroimaging related to the enterprise of “localizing” mental functions, such as memory. A-me also addresses technical research questions within Augmented Reality (AR) in brain visualization and quality assessments of AR systems.
Our contribution presents the concept of an optical see-through AR system to overlay a volume rendered MR scan onto a medical head phantom. The installation creates the opportunity for a playful experience related to memory localization by providing a game like interaction. The user is able to navigate the brain by handling a tracked probe similar to the probes that neurosurgeons use to examine brain injuries. While navigating the brain, the user can find active spots in specific parts of the nervous structure. Pointing at the spots triggers an immersive narration of a memory left in the MR image space by previous users of A-me. The device questions the possibility of “locating” memories, and reflects upon questions such as: where are our memories? Who do memories belong to? Are memories private events?