Vasia Abatzi

Memory Bank

Coding / Animation / Neuroscience

Memory Bank merges the disciplines of creative technology, socially-engaged art, and neuroscience. We received the ICAT* Student SEAD** Grant and we won the ICAT Process Award of 2019 among 58 other submissions. The project was presented on the SECAC Conference of 2019 at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The video displays the content fitting together like a layered puzzle, as it was first presented at the Cyclorama at the Moss Art Center in Blacksburg in Spring 2019. The photo gallery shows the multi-projector installation in a full-scale 15.25 m x 12.13 m  x 9.8 m (W x L x H). The first layer consists of participants’ brain activity during the recall process, while the second layer presents their animated drawings based on their stories. The text is based on participants’ answers regarding the things that they would like to change and keep on their memories.

Project Description

Our goal was to use tools from neuroscience to collect, understand, and visually communicate data about the experience of emotional memory. In the first phase of the project, we conducted participatory workshops where we used electroencephalogram (EEG) headsets to monitor participants’ brain activity. The subjects were asked to recall early emotional memories of love. Participants were between the ages of 18-40 under the Virginia Tech IRB 18-885.

My main role on this project focused on the second phase, where I visualized participants’ brain activity during the recall process. Processing language was employed to  exclude numbers from the visual representations. To maintain the uniqueness of each participant, different visual representations for each of them (18 in total) were created. The pace of the creating visuals, is related to the Theta-frequencies that we collected with the Muse devices, during the recall process. Each participant’s visual interpretation was based on his/hers Theta-frequency, as it is associated with navigation and memory. Moreover, using Adobe Photoshop and After Effects,  I animated half of the participant drawings and the rest half drawings were animated by Tacie Jones.


Credits
Vasia Ampatzi, MFA Creative Technologies, School of Visual Arts, Virginia Tech.
Tacie N. Jones, Graduate School, Individualized Interdisciplinary PhD, Human-Centered Design.
Jessie Mann, Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, Neurorehabilitation.
Najla Mouchrek, Graduate School, Individualized Interdisciplinary PhD, Human-Centered Design.
Zach Duer, Assistant Professor, Creative Technologies, School of Visual Arts, Virginia Tech.
Rachel Weaver, Assistant Professor, Chair of Creative Technologies, School of Visual Arts, Virginia Tech.
Thomas Tucker, Associate Professor, Creative Technologies, School of Visual Arts, Virginia Tech.

*Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology
**Science, Engineering, Arts, and Design


Exhibition & Award


Examples of Visualization Process