in loving memory

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Active project

Memory is a profound aspect of human existence. It shapes our identity, influences our decisions, and anchors us to our past. The interplay between remembering and forgetting is crucial in navigating our lives, as each serves a distinct and essential purpose.

Remembering is fundamental to our sense of self and continuity. Memories allow us to connect with our past experiences and learn from them. They allow us to build a coherent narrative of who we are. This is not just a way to foster continuity in our personal lives, but also informs our cultural cohesion, as collective memories bind communities and nations together. Historical events, traditions, and shared experiences contribute to a collective identity that is passed down through generations.

Positive memories can serve as a source of comfort and joy; They provide a reservoir of happiness that can be drawn upon in times of distress, fostering resilience. Memories of loved ones, significant achievements, and cherished moments enrich our lives, and offer a sense of fulfilment and belonging.

At the same time, the act of forgetting is essential, too. Cognitive scientists suggest that forgetting allows for decluttering the mind, allowing us to focus on the present and future tasks. This process of selective forgetting is crucial for mental health, as it helps mitigate the emotional burden of negative experiences and traumatic events.

But, more importantly, on a societal level, forgetting also facilitates forgiveness and growth. Particularly now, when technology allows us to maintain a near perfect record of the past, where not only past joys, but also past mistakes never fade, holding onto past grievances can impede our ability to move forward and build new, healthy relationships.

In the balance of remembering and forgetting, creating loving memories plays a pivotal role. These memories are the ones we deliberately cultivate through our actions and interactions. Loving memories are built from moments of kindness, shared joy, meaningful connections with others, and meaningful connections with places.

Intentional memory-making involves being present and engaged in our experiences. It requires mindfulness and an appreciation of the fleeting nature of time. By focusing on creating positive, loving memories, we enrich our lives and those of others, leaving a legacy of affection and warmth.

For this project, I chose to explicitly commemorate locations around the world that, through their inclusion, have received a special place in my memory, allowing me to think back to these locations lovingly.
I achieved this by affixing commemorative plaques to benches, but with a text that hints at the duality of the act of commemoration, of remembering. Who is remembering? What, or who, is remembered? Will inclusion, for me, result in creating new experiences and new memories for others who find these plaques on their paths.

The dance between remembering and forgetting is a delicate yet vital part of life. By embracing both, we can lead balanced and fulfilling lives. Creating our own memories ensures that, while we cherish the past and its lessons, we also actively shape our future. In doing so, we can enhance our personal well-being, and contribute positively to the lives of those around us.