A.R. Hopwood – The False Memory Archive

11 June 2014 to 3 August 2014

An exhibition of new collaborative artworks and a unique collection of vivid personal accounts of things that never really happened.

Based on fascinating scientific research that demonstrates how susceptible we are to false memories, A.R. Hopwood’s The False Memory Archive evocatively reflects on the way we creatively reconstruct our sense of the past, while providing insight into the often humorous, obscure and uncomfortable things people have misremembered.

The exhibition features new site-specific works made at the museum, including looped night-vision video footage taken from the inside of Freud’s personal lift, a series of large-scale photographs of damage caused to the walls of the Museum by previous art exhibitions, an exchange with a fictional security guard, and a film of a FaceTime conversation between two characters. The site of Freud’s former home in Hampstead has provided a potent context for a project that seeks to explore the veracity of our own autobiographical memories.

The False Memory Archive, 2014, A R Hopwood

Hopwood has collaborated with psychologists including Professor Elizabeth Loftus (University of California) and Professor Christopher French (Goldsmith’s College), to revisit key experiments, reflecting on the history and consequences of this provocative field of memory..

The subsequent works collectively explore where the truth lies in a ‘false’ recollection, while questioning how a blend of fact and fiction can be used to challenge assumptions about memory. The False Memory Archive examines what role artists can play in representing scientific information to the public, whilst presenting research into false memory as a potent signifier for our times.

Related Resources

The False Memory Archive is a national touring exhibition which has visited The Exchange in Penzance, The Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh and finally The Freud Museum London. The project raises important questions about how humour and narrative can be used as a valid interpretation of scientific information, while exploring the meaningful role artists can have in cross-disciplinary collaboration and discussion.

The national tour is curated by Gill Hedley and supported by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.

Read The Independent’s review of the touring exhibition

The Freud Museum has programmed a series of events to accompany the exhibition:

The Construction of Memory – A conference in association with the False Memory Archive – 28 June, 9.30 – 5.00pm

Memories are made of this… or are they? – Aromatherapy Workshop – 5 July, 10am-1pm

BBKP Slit-Scan/Pinhole Photography Workshop – 12 & 19 July, 12pm and 3pm.

Read more:

BBC News – Why does the human brain create false memories?

Dazed – Artist A.R. Hopwood is carefully collecting all the lies people tell themselves

Wellcome Trust – ‘False Memory Archive’ culminates in touring exhibition

Gill Hedley – A False Memory is a distorted or entirely invented recollection of an experience

Edinburgh Reporter – Talbot Rice Gallery – False Memory Archive

Unshredded – The False Memory Archive