The Memory Matrix is a living monument that explores the possibilities for future heritage creation, employing new fabrication techniques and transcultural collaborative workshops. Created for the MIT Centennial Celebration, The Matrix takes form as a giant screen made of metal fences carrying over 20,000 small fluorescent Plexiglas pixels. Each of these is laser cut in the middle with holes in the shape of vanished heritage from Syria, Egypt, Iraq, or Yemen. Arranged into a larger matrix, the pixels collectively reveal the geometry of Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph, which was destroyed by ISIS. The collaborative making process is the seed for the long-term mission of the project—to bring education to Syrian Refugee Camps, and keep destroyed monuments alive. The project explores how communities threatened by war can document their material and immaterial heritage as indestructible evidence. Variations of the installation have been exhibited at the MIT Media Lab, Qalandiya International Biennale, London Biennale-Manila Pollination and Amman Design Week.
The image of the Arch of Palmyra was divided in 12 chain-link fence panels that stacked, allowing people to walk through the installation. To create the piece, I wrote a script that based on the different views we wanted to achieve, pixelated the image and allowed for different densities and geometries to be tested in each fence. This exercise informed the final pixel layout. This process was also crucial for construction—to hang the pixels in an efficient and correct manner, and to calculate how much material was needed. I later used the same script to create the logo, which stood in the entrance to the installation and on the website.