memory [en]code is an interactive tabletop installation - the attempt to visualize the dynamic character of human memory in an interactive way.

The installation is the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration between Holly Schmidt, a practicing artist, and Uta Hinrichs, an engineer for computational visualistics.
Holly Schmidt and Uta Hinrichs met through an interdisciplinary class called "Art, Science, and Technology" that was initiated by the University of Calgary, the Banff Centre, and the Alberta College of Art and Design.
As part of our class project we explored different concepts of memory found in our respective disciplines of art and computer science as well as the fields of neuroscience, psychology and sociology.

The resulting installation, memory [en]code, invites participants to enter an immersive contemplative space where they will encounter a visualization of memory on a tabletop device. Here, participants can recall and share narratives of their memories. Entered on the tabletop interface, memories become cellular forms that contain the entered text. These memories can be interacted with in a number of ways.

Participants can release and read the memories contained in the cells. They can also merge cells, thereby merging the memory narratives. Overtime the memories begin to shape one another becoming a collective memory for those that interacted with the system.

Photo by Jens Grubert -

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Uta Hinrichs, Holly Schmidt, Tobias Isenberg, Mark S. Hancock and Sheelagh Carpendale (2008).
BubbleType: Enabling Text Entry within a Walk-Up Tabletop Installation.
Technical report 2008-893-06, Department of Computer Science, University of Calgary, February 2008. [PDF]

Holly Schmidt, Uta Hinrichs, Alan Dunning, and Sheelagh Carpendale.
memory [en]code - Building a Collective Memory within a Tabletop Installation.
In Proceedings of Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization, and Imaging 2007 (CAe'07). Eurographics Association, pages 135-142, June 2007. [PDF]

memory [en]code has been presented at the Little Gallery of the University of Calgary, Canada in May 2007 and at the Banff Centre, Canada, in June 2007. In addition, an art paper about the development and concept of memory [en]code has been published at the Computational Aesthetics conference that was held in Banff, Canada, in June 2007 (see publication above).

About the creators of memory [en]code

Holly Schmidt is an interdisciplinary artist working in installation, photography and video. She currently resides in Calgary and maintains a studio with the Untitled Art Society. Schmidt’s practice focuses on concepts of memory, perception and consciousness. In 2004, she continued her exploration of those concepts through an Artist Residency at the USF Verftet in Bergen, Norway. Recently, Schmidt introduced elements of performance and intervention in to her studio practice. She has shown locally and internationally, including the Herland Film Festival, Calgary, Emmedia, Calgary and the Visningrommet, Bergen, Norway. Schmidt has a BFA with distinction (1997) and a B.ED (1999). She is currently the Curator of Education and Interpretation at the Glenbow Museum.

Uta Hinrichs is an engineer for Computational Visualistics and PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Calgary, Canada, supervised by Sheelagh Carpendale. Her research interests are focussed on the design and development of innovative interfaces for large displays that support intuitive and lightweight interaction with information. Hinrichs has an interdisciplinary background in computer science, psychology, social science, and design. Before she came to Calgary to start her PhD, she finished her German Diplom (2006) in Computational Visualistics at the University of Magdeburg in Germany. Her previous research projects show her interests in both, visual design and computer science. Hinrichs' work has been published and presented at various international conferences.


We would like to thank the following people who made memory [en]code possible
ASTecs Instructors: Jeff Boyd, Sheelagh Carpendale, Alan Dunning, Katayoon Etemad, Mary Scott, and Paul Woodrow.
ASTecs Students: David Baumgartner, Amanda Henderson, Helen He, Amy Inkster, Steve Jenkins, David Osborne, Andrew Senuik, and Matthew Tobiasz.
All members of the interactions lab for their insightful comments and help, in particular Tobias Isenberg.

We would like to thank the following institutions for funding and supporting this project: