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Posted: 7th May 2013

Since 2008 I’ve begun creating my own potential Un-Memory box. I’ve had to give toys away and other objects, but I photographed them as an aide-memoire.

It feels quite frustrating in a way that it will take a lifetime to see if this is of any use whatsoever. And that’s if I ever get there.

Alanna Shaikh has a similar idea of preparing for Alzheimer’s.

In her TED talk (2012) she talks about how through doing activities now, eating well, exercising and also ‘being a better person’ she is preparing so that she can be well in mental ill-health.

This sounds very similar to my ideas around the ‘Default Setting’ - where people revert back to the state they find themselves in the most. Through my experiences of people with dementia I wondered if whether people were generally happy or anxious throughout their lives, then that is what the stay as within dementia.

What Shaikh refers to as being a better person, I think could be addressing this ‘default state’ – the background ambient feelings that colour our everyday thoughts. I believe if we make these as happy, open and true to ourselves as possible this will become our default setting.

There are events that can affect our state. Garner’s ideas as discussed by Oliver James (2009) of the Photograph Album, which is a concept around only the feelings not the information of a ‘photograph’ or memory being stored. Blanks appear and reduce a person’s capacity to maintain the relevant information, resulting in ‘red’ memories that then tint and connect other ‘red’ photographs (p. 41-50).

If, however, you reduce the number of red memories to begin with, there are less to incorrectly connect.

Alanna Shaikh

Oliver James on Penny Garner's ideas...

SPECAL Photograph album and the Three Golden Rules

Related Themes

Further Reading

Ageing Artfully - Conference

Just been to an amazing conference at Manchester Town Hall - Ageing Artfully.