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The original idea was just a memory holder that could be added to from anywhere. Essentially--a tangible "favorites" folder, or physical, personal Instagram account. I wanted a place where people could be wholly genuine about the memories they shared. As I worked on developing out this idea (a box with imagistic QR codes on each side allowing the user to alternatively access music, images, text, videos, etc.), I started thinking more and more about how the object owners would engage with the memories they stored. Would they just mindlessly watch or ignore the memories? How can I ensure they will want to engage with the memories and have some serious engagement with the content in front of them? This is where the idea of an external memory-owner came from. If the object owns the memories, it's both a protector, a hoarder and vulnerable to the real threat--the human who poured their life into the object.

This initial idea led to the idea I executed with the Stone. Taking the power to control memories away from the human by digitizing the memories in a single, inaccessible format (other than a single USB port to view and engage with the drive contents), puts the human in a new position of decreased power--instead of endless editing control over our digitized memory references, the Stone owner has only two available methods for engaging with their stored memories--viewing and reminiscing or ending access forever.

I probably spent as much time thinking about my object and the contents it might hold as I did actually making it. Several hours of one afternoon were dedicated to digging through thousands of videos stored in my iCloud and on my phone from the past four years, rewatching, revisiting, and considering what moments were significant, poignant, happy, or important markers of change. Choosing the memories themselves, the things I wanted to curate and "permanently preserve" was an exercise in thinking about the past four years of my life and considering the ways small moments of happiness, melancholy, and sadness and fear have combined to contribute to the biggest period of personal growth and constant change in my short life thus far.

Once I had curated a selection of videos I felt hit the major events and emotional moments of the past few years of my life, be they mundane or life-changing, I loaded them onto a 32 GB flash drive and set them to read-only. The drive can no longer be tampered with and the memories cannot be removed or altered in any way.

The Stone is shaped like a cone because that's the workable and affordable mold I could get my hands on, but I like the idea that the Stone could take any form, the form reinforcing the contents and being a consciously curated addition to the memory-references inside as well. I will say, the cone allows the Stone to be very satisfactorily held in the palm, as personal an object as an iPhone. Pouring cement for the first-time was an experiment, but I like the uneven result with rough edges, holes and smooth, featureless spots. The Stone's appearance can be read as an embodied metaphor for the memories stored within.

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