Based upon scientific research that demonstrates how susceptible we are to false memories, A.R. Hopwood’s False Memory Archive at the University of Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery features contemporary artworks and a unique collection of vivid personal accounts of things that never really happened. Opening with a display of digitally manipulated photographs of UFO sightings, Hopwood’s work evocatively reflects the way we creatively reconstruct our sense of the past, while providing insight into the often humorous, obscure and uncomfortable things people have misremembered.
Hopwood frequently collaborates with psychologists and neuroscientists to revisit key experiments, reflecting on the history and consequences of this provocative field of memory research. Projects include a series of works made with Professor Elizabeth Loftus (University of California, Irvine), whose ongoing research has explored how memories of fictional experiences can be created through suggestion and coercion by an authority figure. Hopwood has also worked with Professor Christopher French (Goldsmiths College) to establish a participatory archive where people can submit their own false or non-believed memories and he has developed new art works with Professor Giuliana Mazzoni (University of Hull); Dr James Ost (University of Portsmouth); Dr Kimberly Wade (University of Warwick) and Professor Sergio Della Sala (University of Edinburgh).
Supported by an Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust, The False Memory Archive at
Talbot Rice includes a new site-specific work featuring a selection of ‘Unknown’ busts and portraits from the University of Edinburgh’s Collections. These forgotten objects connect to broader questions raised throughout the exhibition concerning the veracity of our own autobiographical memories, which are crucial for our personal sense of identity. The objects, texts and collaborations collectively explore where the truth lies in a ‘false’ recollection, while questioning how a blend of fact and fiction can be used to challenge assumptions.
From a replica of Jackie Kennedy’s pink Chanel suit to an experience of the strange – and harmless – effects of Electromagnetic frequencies on our perception, The False Memory Archive examines the role artists can play in representing scientific information to the public, whilst presenting research into false memory as a potent signifier for our times.
A.R. Hopwood’s False Memory Archive is accompanied by a series of related events including talks, workshops and a film programme at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse Cinema.
A.R. Hopwood was awarded a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowship in 2013 – the first artist to receive such an accolade. This award resulted from the touring of The False Memory Archive and an ongoing residency at the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths College under the supervision of Professor Christopher French, a leading academic in the field. Since 2002 Hopwood has also worked under the guise of the WITH Collective, creating playful conceptual artworks that explore the idea of ‘experiential offsetting’ through a series of 60 Solutions at www.withyou.co.uk including constructing a more traumatic past for you, rehearsing your death on your behalf and attempting to contact you after you die.
The False Memory Archive A.R. Hopwood
15 March – 19 April 2014
Exhibition Open Tues – Fri, 10am–5pm | Sat, 12–5pm Admission Free