Evolving Digital Hyperthymesia

From the first written words, to photography, using external memory aids to support our human memory is an age-old practice. However, rapid technological development has seen the evolution of artificial memory forms that endure indefinitely, such as hard drives and the internet. Tanne van Bree coins the term Digital Hyperthymesia to describe this, based on Hyperthymesia: a rare neuropsychological condition characterised by a superior memory. By researching the emergence of Digital Hyperthymesia, Tanne anticipates the consequences on our behaviour, identity and perception of time. Her aim is to draw attention to this phenomenon, and to reform our cultural view of memory. After all, human memory is a duality of remembering and forgetting. This inspired Artificial Ignorance – an algorithm that offers a digital equivalent of ‘forgetting’. The algorithm replaces photos of someone’s external memory with visually similar internet images. These new images serve as ‘memory cues’ to stimulate active remembering as an alternative to the passive display of memories.

Tanne van Bree

Photo by Lisa Klappe