memory wall
february 2015
The Memory Wall was a proposal for Nuit Blanche 2015 in Toronto in which the curatorial theme for that year was "Memory Lane". The Memory Wall proposes to invoke visitors to participate, document, and reflect on both the individual and the collective memory during the 12 hour long duration of Nuit Blanche. It is a semi-transparent wall in which the front of the Memory Wall displays the real-time visual information that is being documented and recorded on the back side of the Memory Wall. Images displayed on the front of the Memory Wall start at a very low-resolution and low opacity. However, people behind the wall who remain "motion-less" start to create an "imprint" on the wall increasing the resolution and opacity of the visual image of themselves found on the front of the Memory Wall. The longer the visitor remains motion-less, the stronger the imprint. If a visitor stays long enough, the visual imprint of the visitor will remain after the visitor changes position. Visitors who leave lasting imprints on the Memory Wall will be documented and recorded into the Memory Wall's own memory which can then be shared on social media.
Rodolphe el-Khoury
Christopher Chung
public space
My involvement with this project was at RAD-UM ( in which I was one of the Lead Designers while overseeing the production of drawings and presentation material.
Shown here is the module used to create the Memory Wall. Taking a standard Glass Block (8"x8"x4") and putting a microcontroller in it gives us the Superblock module. It allows the glass block to become "smarter" (a popular term today), giving it the possibilities to access digital information, as well as digital inputs and outputs.
Exploded axonometric of one of the blocks in the Memory Wall.
We’ve designed each Superblock so that they can fit snuggly with each other regardless of the orientation of the block. In addition, the grid dimensions of the LEDs are still maintained regardless of the amount of Superblocks connected. This way, by assembling a number of Superblock modules, the image remains uninterrupted. As the number of Superblock modules connected increases the resolution of the image increases.
The Memory Wall documents and record visitors that stand behind the wall, displaying its view onto the front side of the wall. Images of each visitor are initially at a low-resolution and low-opacity. However, as each visitor remains motionless, their respective image becomes clearer at a higher-resolution and higher opacity (see visitor A vs visitor B). If visitors leave their "imprint" long enough, their impression will be documented and recorded so that the visitors associated image on the Memory Wall will remain for a moment even after the visitor has left (see visitor C).
Diagram showing the various imprints on the Memory Wall depending on how long visitors remain "motion-less".
Plan of the Memory Wall.
Front Elevation of the Memory Wall.
Back Elevation of the Memory Wall.