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Lindsay Seers, It has to be this way¹, 2009. Photo by Brain Slater.

Persistence of Vision

Visual media is radically changing the way we see and remember. Following a series of significant technological developments from photography, film and television through the 19th Century to social media today, our memories are becoming increasingly visual, mediatised and externalised. Recent scientific research suggests that repeated use of digital media such as the Internet and video games may be leading to actual physiological changes in the human brain.

The new breed of 'digital natives' are developing more sophisticated visual skills and are becoming more adept at sourcing and responding to information quicker than previous generations.

Today, moments of our lives are captured and revived on an unprecedented scale through the proliferation of digital cameras, camera phones and the immense popularity of social media websites like Flickr, Facebook and YouTube. How does this decentralised, near-instant and virtually unlimited sharing of memories through the web and mobile devices change how we behave, and how we see ourselves? Informed by scientific research and inspired by historical developments in media technology, Persistence of Vision explores how seeing is shaped by memory, and how memory is influenced by what we see and the media we use.

Before entering the galleries, visitors are invited to the Exploratory Laboratory in our Media Lounge to test their visual perception in a series of interactive touch screen games, specially designed with the University of Liverpool's Visual Perception Lab. Visitors can then go on to explore the multimedia work of nine contemporary artists who re-purpose a range of optical media such as cameras, projectors, magnifying glasses and mirrors, to review and re-imagine how our memories are stored and revived.

Exhibition organised by FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool and Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary ArtCenter, Denmark. With special thanks to the following people who have contributed to our research: Marco Bertamini and Rebecca Lawson at the Visual Perception Lab, University of Liverpool. Andrew Hoskins at the Centre for Memory Studies, Nottingham University. Paul Knox at the School of Vision Sciences, University of Liverpool. Daniel Glaser at the Wellcome Trust. Ali Hossaini. Werner Nekes.

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