Threads: Memory in focus group exhibition

So excited for this! group xhibition invites is here! Opening night on 19th May! 

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Alzheimer’s seminar & CARIAD project involvement to support my intentions

With the help of Louisa, I’ve got in contact with a neuroscientist from Bristol University. He referred me to a seminar to present recent development in alzheimer’s disease research. I’ve booked a space to attend the seminar Alzheimer’s: Beyond the Gene scheduled on Nov 23rd in hope that I gain more knowledge and understanding about finding a cure to alzheimer’s. The seminar is a join seminar from Cardiff University and Bristol University. See attached file for detail programme.

Programme of events

I’ve attended a lecture by Prof. Cathy Treadaway on Oct 14th on her research and design​​​ project with CARIAD – Centre for Applied Research in Inclusive Arts and Design titled Making a Difference: Designing for Happiness. The lecture was about her involvement in helping people on late stage of dementia through sensory objectHANDS design to spark memory loss.

Using practical participatory approaches, in which people are kept at the heart of the process, it is possible to gain insights into human experience and then design positively to promote human flourishing and enhance wellbeing.

Creative activities can be used as powerful and life-changing opportunities to contribute to dialogues in the design process. Making by hand, gesture and touch can be used as valuable tools to unlock thinking, reframe problems and aid communication. Participatory approaches that combine empathy and creative group activities are being used in a number of CARIAD led international research projects that seek to address the global design challenge of caring for our ageing society. LAUGH, Sensor e-Textiles, Hand i Pockets and HANDS are all projects that focus on design to support the wellbeing of people with dementia.

The lecture has inspired me, so I sent an email to Prof Treadaway to request for a chance to get involve in her project. After a meeting with her few weeks back, she is giving me the opportunity to observe and draw a Tea party at a nursing home in West Swansea on 22nd of November for a celebration of handing over memory aprons to dementia patients. Hopefully what I gain from the event would be able to feed to my current project as well as producing a response that communicate a message & raising awareness of dementia.


Ideas: 3 – Information book about alzheimer’s

The book will consists of scientific information about alzheimer’s disease, symptoms, recent research. The book is aimed for general public to understand about alzheimer’s and persuade them to support research in finding the cure for alzheimer’s/dementia and to get involve through joining a training session (Dementia Friends) to create a more friendly environment for people with alzheimer’s-dementia.


Ideas: 2 – Fragmented Objects display/Installation

Ideas number 2: to display/create installation of fragmented objects & memories. I choose everyday objects and memories because we perceived our own perception of objects and memories through bodily experiences. The aim of fragmented everyday objects/memories is to represent loosing coordination, having hallucinations and loosing feeling/sensitivity-empathy, changing of personality and short-term memory loss suffered by early-onset dementia patients. Although, I believe that the essence of the person is still inside, it needs to be brought back by sparking their memories and senses. So fragmented objects can also represent the memory/senses coming back as well as represent disappearance.

Process of creating the objects/image: will be made with thread (embroidery) & textile and stitch on dissolvable fabric. Then the fabric will disappear once it’s put in warm water leaving the stitched image still intact. The process where the fabric disappear represents the loss of memories, however the stitched image left represents the essence that is still inside of the person who have alzheimer’s, i.e. love, interest, etc.

shredded cloth

shredded cloth


Ideas: 1 – Participation through experience

Idea number 1 – is to create a room where everyone can experience what is like to live with early-onset of dementia. The aim is to change old perceptions that alzheimer’s/dementia is an age-related illness. The disease could attack every person as young as in their late 40’s and no matter what life-style they’ve had (healthy, active, academic, etc.) Therefore, I aim so that everyone would be able to recognise early-onset dementia symptoms quickly, because unlike cancer or AIDS which illness can be seen physically fairly quickly, early-onset dementia can not be seen physically. Its symptoms can only be seen through changes of behaviour that we need to observe through time hence the disease attacks our memory stored in the brain, effects the way we feel/mood and changes personality. As soon as we received proper diagnosis, the better we understand what type of dementia we have and make our plans for the present and future.

But most importantly is that by understanding symptoms of early-onset alzheimer’s we can provide more friendly environment for people with alzheimer’s/dementia. For example, If we meet a person with dementia doing their everyday chores but suddenly they forget what they meant to do or where they are going, we can patiently assist them so they can remember what they intended to do or where they wanted to go. We need to create the friendly environment everywhere, in schools, in the shops, at the office, community leisure centres, and so on. This is not only applies for assisting dementia patients to get through the day but will also support their family and carers.

Early-onset dementia symptoms is when we loss ability in speech/language, reading, coordination, calculating, planning and short term memory lost.

Things planned to be included in the participation:

  • To include continuing buzzing sound/noise (with headphone) that could influence the thought process (perceived from experiences) of normal people. When our thinking process to do activities is disturb, out concentration/focus is effected and we would not be able to do simple chores, for example putting the right pair of socks on or putting shirts back into drawer, and so on. Background noise (i.e mix of traffic, road works, jet plane) can increase the stress level and decrease concentration. “Excess cortisol impairs function in the prefrontal cortex—an emotional learning centre that helps to regulate “executive” functions such as planning, reasoning and impulse control. Some recent evidence indicates that the prefrontal cortex also stores short-term memories. Changes to this region, therefore, may disrupt a person’s capacity to think clearly and to retain information.To invite normal people do simple everyday chores when they enter the installation.” (Mark A.W. Andrews, University of Seton Hill – Osteophatic Medicine college, http://www.scientificamerica.com accessed Nov.14, 2015)
  • To invite public to get do a simple everyday chores
  • To get feedback from the experience
  • The objects may/will be made out of thread and textile. 

Experiment

During summer I’ve done some experiments with thread and stitch. Thread is main medium for my illustration. I like the metaphor that is embedded in thread and stitch which is mending, repairing, connecting/re-connecting. I made some stitch to illustrate from information I’ve gathered about Alzheimer’s disease. I found that people suffer from dementia have disconnected neurons synapses in which make them loose memories and abilities to perform everyday chores. Throughout 10-20 years the symptoms will increase although in some cases it could increase a lot faster and then in the end it will effect senses and balance.

Process of creating the image 5, 6, 7: image is stitch on dissolvable fabric. Then the fabric will disappear once it’s put in warm water leaving the stitched image still intact. The process where the fabric disappear represents the loss of memories, however the stitched image left represents the essence that is still inside of the person who have alzheimer’s, i.e. love, interest, etc.

Family/carer feel that the memory loss could be brought back at certain moments when it’s being sparked by events, song/music, touching object and activities. The Fabric dye pockets experiment is to find process of “reappearing” in regard with sparking memories back.

Dissolvable fabric & fabric dye experiment video: