Fear Division; Archiving the Intangible

The processes in the brain when exposed to fear, the memories related to it and the triggering of these memories were taken as a starting point of an embodied interactive installation. The goal of the installation is to give people more insight in the subject of fear, by offering them an interactive experience which is based on the archiving and retrieving of emotions and sounds related to the subject.

There are multiple regions in the brain that take part in processing the emotion of fear. Two medial temporal lobe structures, the amygdala and hippocampal complex, are regions in the brain that are linked to two independent memory systems, each having their own distinctive functions. In emotional situations, these two systems interact with each other in important ways (Phelps 2004). The fact that these two systems cooperate when emotions, like fear, meet memory, were taken as a starting point to build an embodied interactive installation, and thereby aim to archive the intangible. The stories and memories about fear are the intangible aspect of this project, and are being archived and shared in the installation. The installation provides an audiovisual experience and makes the visitor more aware of fear and different stories related to these fears. The fear memories and the sounds triggering these memories are stored in the installation and can be retrieved by the visitor, by interacting with the installation. After experiencing the installation, visitors get the opportunity to record and share their own stories related to fear.

The concept for the embodied interactive installation was formed, based on the theoretical research and a selection of the recordings obtained by cultural probes (five stories about different fears were used). The aim of the installation was to archive the intangible. In this respect, the intangible were the feelings and memories related to fear and the triggering of these memories.The knowledge acquired by the neuroscientific research made it possible to make design decisions for the installation, especially regarding the encoding of the stories.

Dorien Neema Koelemeijer and Franziska Maria Tachtler. 2016. Fear Division; Archiving the Intangible. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 309-312.

Koelemeijer, D., Tachtler, F., et. al. (2015) Fear Division: Archiving the Intangible. Embodied Interactions, Proceedings of Sider ‘15 (pp. 39-42). Sider ‘15 Conference, Kolding, Denmark

25th and 26th of February, 2015. Somatic Archiving Symposium by Living Archives, Malmö, Sweden.