A solidarity-building and educational enterprise
The Memory Matrix is a living monument that explores the possibilities for future heritage creation, employing new fabrication techniques and transcultural collaborative workshops. The Matrix takes form of a giant screen made of border fences carrying over 20,000 small fluorescent Plexiglas elements. These elements are laser cut in the middle with holes in the shape of vanished heritage from Syria, Iraq, Yemen and beyond. Arranged into a larger matrix, these pixels collectively reveal an image of Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph.
This collaborative making process is a seed for a longer-term mission of the project—to benefit the education of Syrian refugees. As a research project, the project explores how heritage threatened by war can be documented to become indestructible evidence.
The project was conceived by ACT Assistant Professor Azra Aksamija and produced with the help of a diverse range of partners within the MIT community and participants from the Maker Faire in Cairo and Syrian refugee camps in Jordan. More than an art installation, the Memory Matrix is a solidarity-building and educational enterprise.
Installation at MIT 2016 Open House
MIT Building E15 Courtyard
April 23, 2016 – May 7, 2016
Memory Matrix is produced with support from a number of different MIT departments and entities:
Office of the Dean from SA+P
Office of the Dean SHASS
Center for International Studies
Arts Initiatives of SA+P
Center for Advanced Urbanism
Global Studies and Languages
Comparative Media Studies / Writing, Literature Section
Office of the Dean for Student Life
Program in Science, Technology, and Society
Women’s and Gender Studies at MIT
Other forms of support are provided by: Department of Architecture, Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT, MIT Alumni Association and MISTI.
The project was conceived by ACT Assistant Professor Azra Aksamija and produced with the help of a diverse range of partners within the MIT community and participants from the Maker Faire in Cairo and Syrian refugee camps in Jordan.
Azra Akšamija is a Sarajevo-born artist and architectural historian. She is Class of 1922 Career Development Professor, Department of Architecture and an Assistant Professor in the Art, Culture and Technology Program. Akšamija graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the Technical University Graz, Austria in 2001, and received her M.Arch. from Princeton University, USA in 2004, and Ph.D. from MIT (HTC / AKPIA) in 2011. In her multi-disciplinary practice, she investigates the potency of art and architecture to facilitate the process of transformative mediation in cultural or political conflicts, and in so doing, provide a framework for researching, analyzing, and intervening in contested socio-political realities. Her recent work focuses on representation of Islam in the West, spatial mediation of identity politics, and cultural transfers through art and architecture.