People, with whom we spend time, become witnesses of our life. If two people share an experience, both keep their very own memory of this experience. These memories are subjectively different – and yet, both are each other’s mutual reassurance that this experience did actually happen. If the relationship ceases, for any reason, the memories become isolated from one another. The reassurance disappears, and it may feel as if the event didn’t take place. To preserve memories we have to share them.
This project aims to investigate the experience of artefact-based memory sharing, focussing on the multi-perspectiveness of different memories as a result of different experiences on the same subject. Diverse pairs of people were asked to decide together on a specific experience they had together, then individually record their memory in the form of an physical or digital artefact (something which could take whichever form they thought was most appropriate to the memory and the person involved), share it, and reflect on their process of sharing. Participants were interviewed individually before exchanging their created artefact, then interviewed again when face-to-face with the other participant. They largely chose bonding experiences and created artefacts as conversation starters about differences in their memories. Our qualitative findings show how this method can help uncover the complexity of shared memory.
This project was carried out at HXD Lab, Microsoft Research Cambridge.
With the proliferation of personal and social computing there is an increased interest in the field of human-computer interaction to support people’s memory practises. Yet, there is only a limited understanding of the role of artefacts in the social dynamics in memory. With memory dialogue, we introduce a methodology for exploring artefact-based memory sharing. Participants created physical or digital memory artefacts, exchanged them, and reflected on the process. Our qualitative findings show how this method can help uncover the complexity of shared memory. Participants largely chose bonding experiences and created artefacts as conversation starters about differences in their memories.