RememberMe

(I don’t have any video of this one, sadly. As part of the R&D for the project I collected lots of old passport photos. Here’s a little ‘animation’ I made of them.. Meanwhile, there are a few images of the installation, and the photos it produced, below)

Here’s what a visitor had to say about RememberMe:

“RememberMe is a ‘hotwired Photo Booth’, developed by one of the UK’s leading sound and digital artists.

From the outside the Photo Booth looks ordinary and familiar. Visitors, however, will soon become aware that this machine has wayward tendencies and is haunted by the imprint of previous visitors. Their images will buzz, flicker and distort. A mechanical voice inside the installation will issue obscure instructions and indeterminate images, and the faces of other people will appear on its screen. On leaving the booth, visitors will be presented with the expected strip of four photographic images, but of unpredictable content: digitally warped, distorted and abstracted.

At the top of Cambridge’s CB2 Café you will find a familiar yet unfamiliar object: RememberMe, a Future Physical commission created by Joseph Hyde. Externally, RememberMe resembles a standard photo booth, though the monitor attached to it, displaying a complex Max screen, hints that it is no ordinary generator of passport snaps.

RememberME is a “Hotwired photo booth with a mind of its own and a memory for faces”. Step inside it and it certainly does get you thinking about memory – as well as involving you in a dialogue of sorts with people who have been inside it before. Not to mention those who will enter it in future.

Press the red button and you are asked to make sure your face is correctly positioned inside an on-screen oval. Once your initial photo has been taken, you find someone else’s face appearing on the screen. The machine – with its disembodied text-to-speech synthesiser voice – informs you that you must memorise this “partner’s” appearance. Confusingly – and intentionally so – a photograph of another person’s face appears as you squint at the screen, attempting to memorise your partner’s appearance. Are you supposed to memorise that face too?

You’re then asked to describe your partner – with the rogue face still on-screen – and are treated to previous inhabitants of RememberMe describing their partners. The next step is to record a question to pose future visitors to the booth, and answer a question posed by previous visitors. Or rather, two questions, spoken over the top of each other. There are clearly ghosts in this machine.

Within the familiar environ of a photo booth, RememberMe makes great use of technology to foster a sense of community – rarely, in real life, do you get much sense of previous visitors. RememberMe shows it is possible to have a conversation which takes place both in the past and the future. And, of course, it leaves you with a souvenir: a strip of photographs that constitute an enduring memory.”

in Installations