Memory: 9th May 2011

We met for our second meeting on 9th May 2011 where we discussed the topic of memory.

We had highly diverse speakers at this event, who each discussed the topic of memory from their own perspective. Their presentations were followed by a lively discussion from the audiencce about the relationships between them and their various merits.

The speakers were:

Professor John Morton, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL.

Professor Morton is widely recognised for his work on memory, and on the modelling of cognitive processes and developmental disorders.  From 1982 to 1998 he was the Director of the MRC Cognitive Development Unit.  He was also Chair of the British Psychological Society Working Party on Recovered Memories.  He talked to us about his work on the role of memory in dissociative-identity disorder (DID). He referred us to the fascinating website of the DID patient and artist Kim Noble. He discussed how there are highly distinctive artistic stlyes correspondong to separate personalities.

Joanne Bristol, The Bartlett, Faculty of the Built Environment, UCL

Joanne began by presenting a 5-minute performance titled Association for Imaginary Architecture. She describes this work as, “a performance involving architectural design, narration and touch. The performance involves a one-on-one exchange between myself and audience members. I ask individuals to verbally describe an architectural space they have experienced. As the space is described I draw a ‘plan’ of it on the speaker’s back with my hands. My intention is to offer dialogical spaces regarding relationships between architecture, memory, imagination, translation, inscription and the body.”

Following the performance, she presented excerpts from her paper ‘back words spaces’ which locates ways that Association for Imaginary Architecture might offer insights into how built worlds are imagined and internalized. The paper focuses on the performance’s use of vocalization and touch to remember ‘old’ space while also creating ‘new’ space. The paper also touches on literary theorist David Wills’ concept of ‘dorsality’ to address the physical space of the human back, as well as the space and performance of memory.

Daniel Friesner, Explainer Unit, The Science Museum.

Daniel did his PhD at King’s College London, on philosophical issues in developmental psychology.  For the last few years he has co-organised a reading group on the relations between science and literature.  He will talk about some literary aspects of Luria’s famous case-history, The Mind of a Mnemonist, which is about one man’s remarkable memory.


About londoninterdisciplinarydiscussiongroup

Susie Christensen recently completed a PhD about modernist literature and neurology at King's College London.
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