Recycled memories : can flashbacks be triggered through experience design?

University essay from Konstfack/Experience Design

Abstract:

This paper examines the phenomenon flashbacks, often named the Proust phenomenon, through the lens of experience design. The research question is Can flashbacks be triggered through experience design? It would then be possible to call flashbacks memories recycled memories. To answer the question former studies were researched, mainly from the standpoint of cognitive psychology. The thesis discusses how different senses produce flashbacks and how they can be used as triggers. The difference between the connection of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell to experiences and flashbacks are examined, especially the extraordinary connection between flashbacks and the olfactory sense.

This topic can not be completed without looking into Marcel Proust‘s texts in À la recherche du temps perdu and his poetic description on how flashbacks work. Through the lens of Proust, flashbacks are discussed as narratives and the thesis looks into the significance of the memories as a building block for our sense of ourselves.

Several Icelandic storytellers are interviewed about their memories. Through their interviews the storytelling aspect of sharing memories becomes prominent, leading to a discussion on the social aspect of memory sharing.

The thesis ends with a study in triggering flashbacks through an experience. An exhibition presenting memories of others through sensory stimuli is used to see the effects of memory sharing through appealing to our senses.

 

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