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    Tags: FACT, Lesions_in_the_Landscape, Shona_Illingworth, Sarah_OHara

    Review: Lesions in the Landscape, FACT

    Imagine a world where you cannot remember what happened the day before. Who did I meet? How did they make me feel? Why was I there? Produced by FACT and supported by the Wellcome Trust and the University of Kent, Lesions in the Landscape explores the impact of amnesia on individual and cultural memory in this innovative exhibition.


    Walking into gallery one there is a feeling of curiosity. It’s dark and I cannot hear much apart from the sound of my own feet tapping along the floor. Then the sound hit me. Across one wall, three giant and cinematic style screens play a montage of scenes. The room is still black and you cannot help but be drawn to the videos on the wall. The vastness of the space and the booming of the audio is disorientating at first, while the quantity of information you receive from the screens is overwhelming. This is exemplar of the dedicated thought and well-crafted design by artist Shona Illingworth. Sitting in the space, you begin to understand how it might feel to have amnesia; a person in a vast world where you cannot access memories or recall the emotions you felt at the time, but instead receive information about these memories from another. Much like the images of evacuating villagers in St Kildare on the screen, we as exhibition viewers are receiving information about the event, but we do not feel the villager’s emotions. We were not there and cannot create that same emotion they felt.  It is an audio-visual experience unlike any other I have experienced – crafted with care and attention to communicate the effects of amnesia.


    Throughout the project, Illingworth worked with amnesia sufferer Claire and took her to St Kildare to explore her own journey into accessing ‘forgotten’ memories. This collaboration leads to one of the most incredible pieces of technology created – a virtual reality headset that allows the user to step into photos that Claire took and walk around in those photographic memories. This immersive sensation is simply striking. Look down and there is a map. Look up and there is a landscape ahead. No longer are you in FACT foyer – instead you are in Claire’s memories. Similar to the sensory operated camera technology that Claire wore to reactivate ‘forgotten’ memories, the power of imagery to bring to life what once was forgotten is an emotive tool that can help so many. It is truly remarkable.


    Culminating in a gallery called ‘The Amnesia Museum’, Lesions in the Landscape is an exhibition of both reflection and questioning. It is undoubtedly one of the most provocative and revolutionary pieces of work at FACT yet.


    Lesions in the Landscape is at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) from Friday 18th September until Sunday 22nd November 2015.


    Entry is free.


    To find out more please visit

      Sarah's posts By Sarah O' Hara



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