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Open Questions and Challenges

Reflect on the process of making What questions remain to be addressed or questions about memory did this exploration raise for you. What are the things we should pay attention to/discuss in class for future explorations? project. What did you learn? What would you do differently?

When we originally came up with the idea for this project, we imagined the lantern as a personal object that would be in somebody’s home. After class feedback, we started to rethink. How often would somebody use a memory lantern experience like this? What is the utility of the lantern lighting up whenever a memory is released if almost nobody ever gets to see it. We’re now imagining the lantern being situated in public spaces. The specifics of what kind of space are still up in the air. If in a therapists’ office, will users feel pressured by the space to move on before they are ready? If it is in a public setting, will users want to conduct such a personal, vulnerable action where anybody could walk by and watch them? If we create an enclosed environment, does the meaningfulness of the shared experience of moving forward with life and communality of the human experience disappear?

There’s also the idea of regret. The way we’ve conceived of this experience, once a memory is gone, released into the digital sky, it’s irretrievable. Even if releasing a memory is cathartic at the moment, what happens months or later when the user decides they are more comfortable with revisiting the memory and wish they had that piece of their past? Of course, this kind of regret happens in the tangible world too, when people let go of memory-triggering things. In a digital space, where the presumption is that “nothing is ever truly deleted,” how do we create a space where people can understand and handle the permanence of letting go?

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