“Virtual Memory Box – Wuhan” by Rebecca Caines

  • ©, , Virtual Memory Box – Wuhan
  • ©, , Virtual Memory Box – Wuhan
  • Photo 2 from reginaimprovcentre.org


    Virtual Memory Box – Wuhan

Artist(s) and People Involved:

    Artist(s) In Residence:



Artist Statement:

    Rebecca and John are creating a project which can be split into three parts. Each part tied to the other, and leading from the other.

    1. The Wuhan Virtual Memory Box.
    2. A performance based on memories of Wuhan.
    3. A gallery installation in Hong Kong showing the Wuhan Virtual Memory Box, and a representation of the performance in Wuhan.

    The Wuhan Virtual Memory Box is a piece where we perform the act of archiving memories of participants’ engagement with the city. We have an empty shell of a website which I am specifically tailoring to Wuhan. Within a 90 min workshop we will fill this site with memories. These can be audio recordings, text, video, and images. A diverse range of people will be involved from connections we make. The final piece will allow the viewer to search out memories on a blank canvas, watching these memories, and then leaving a mark on the canvas of these memories. As new memories are explored old memories fade, though the old memories can be re-remembered. The single most important element of this piece is the range of people. Where it is easier to have memories from recent times, retrieving memories from the past requires a deeper engagement with the place.

    Throughout this first week we worked on building these relationships and are excited to have a commitment from an Architectural Historian living in the city to be part of the project. Of course another incredibly important element is getting to know the city ourselves, and although given the short time we are here, we will only have a surface level interaction with the city, we will be excited to include our memories of the city in the project. It’s already been an adventure exploring the local area around the art village, and the technology malls, street markets, and local cuisine. One of highlights for me as a technologist is to be able to have relatively sophisticated conversations with people, given the language barrier, using modern translation apps on my smart phone.

    The performance piece will be a live improvisation replaying and interacting with the memories of the city. There will be many screens which we can in real time push images, videos, sounds, colours, and text to. Deciding and acquiring the technology for this performance, and writing the software are the tasks I’ve set for myself for the first half of this residency. I’m excited I’ve already bypassed several technological hurdles, and set up some new ones!

    Over the coming weeks I will be creating a mockup of the performance space in my studio, and Rebecca and I will continue to collect and curate material for the performance.