Archiving the Intangible: an Interactive, Tangible Room Installation To Experience and Archive Stories about Fear

The interactive room installation Fear Division deals with the emotion of fear and how to archive stories about this concept. With the help of neuroscience, a decoding method for personal stories about fear was developed. If a person feels fear, the hippocampus and amygdala are the most involved parts in the human brain. The hippocampal complex is in charge of encoding information and for declarative or episodic memory, which is the primary memory system in humans. The amygdala reacts to external stimuli and is responsible for fear conditioning. The memory of a person plays an important role how stimuli are perceived, which makes the emotion very personal and also creates a variety of different fear experiences.

In the embodied interactive installation Fear Division, the user has to navigate a dark room by touching tubes of
different length hanging from the ceiling. By touching a tube, a fragment of a person’s voices telling a story about her or his biggest fear or a sound connected to that fear is played. The exhibited stories are inspired by Cultural Probes that were collected to understand how people think about fear. The private audiovisual experience allows the users to become aware of fear and different stories related to these fears. Additionally, the embodied character of the installation could lead to that people’s inner state shifts. After experiencing the installation, visitors have the opportunity to record and share their own stories related to fear.

This work strengthens my interest in using technology in the area of mental health and demonstrates my experience in using data collection methods to gain insights into a very personal topic such as fear.