A year of memories turned into a video game

Open book. That is how we describe people who are easy to understand: they are easy to read, as it were. But perhaps that is an outdated expression and a videogame metaphor would be more apt? Alan Kwan, an artist of all trades, may have something we can work with. 

Early next year, [Kwan] plans to open the doors to what he describes as a virtual recreation of his mind, allowing everyone to come in and explore the more than year’s worth of video and audio captured from a special camera rigged to his glasses. Everything, from the mundane to the titillating, the absurd to the obscene, is scattered throughout a surreal landscape of shimmering black and white houses and walking trees.

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To make this a possibility, he had to create a tool:

“I decided to create another piece of software called Memory Palace, which is kind of video game-like, more 3D and more artsy.” In Memory Palace a user can walk around in a virtual environment, sort of like a video game, and find cubes that store snippets of video and audio. Kwan likens it to a combination of a video player and The Sims.

Bad Trip is the instillation made with Memory Palace. It will include some of his most vulnerable and embarrassing and revealing moments (including lying and masturbating) and the banalities of day-to-day life. He recorded himself for 10 hours a day, so it will be an extraordinary window into his world.

While Kwan says he will continue to update Bad Trip every day with his videos, he’s already looking at where this collision of art, technology and virtual memories can take him next.

Kwan welcomes the idea that someone might hack into this clone of himself and change his memories. He wants, he tells me, to turn this project about his own memories into something communal and even more surreal.

We’ll just have to wait and see where he takes us.