This post is sponsored by Kodak Alaris as part of a Mom It Forward Blogger Network campaign.
Memories are powerful. When I really take a moment to sit and remember a moment, usually one captured in a photograph, I can get back to that place, feel the emotions, smell the smells, and almost relive the experience all over again. My favorite memories are the ones with good smells. Liking the pungent scent of pine sap when we cut down our Christmas tree each year, or the salty air at the beach. When I close my eyes I can remember the first time I visited New York City as a teenager and it smells like hot dogs and car oil, feels oppressively humid and hot, and overwhelms me with flashes of color amid the the concrete backdrop.
Yesterday I had the chance to join Kodak Alaris to experience their incredible, multi-sensory Memory Observatory debuting at SXSW this weekend. The inspiration behind the experience is the newly launched Kodak Moments App, which provides a new space for people to share the photos of moments most dear to them, and record the memory along side it.
The Memory Observatory was designed, created, and directed by Marcos Lutyens: one of the world’s most renowned sensorial artists. The structure itself is beautiful, birch plywood, and a work of art itself.
Walking into the dimly lit and quiet ballroom where the Memory Observatory sits was a perfect introduction to the experience. It is calm and peaceful amid the crazy bustle of the city-wide conference. The attendee sends in an image of a memory, then in the first room shares the memory and accompanying feelings surrounding it. In the next room, the image is projected overhead in a kaleidoscope of colors and lights, while a custom mixed sound experience and even custom mixed perfumes are send into the room, bringing the richness to the memory.
The image I shared was this one of a day near the end of last summer that we spent at Barton Springs.
The day had started off a little crazy, trying to gather swimwear, pack lunches, make sure I had sunscreen and snacks and shoes for everyone. Once we finally piled into the car, got seatbelts on, set up the DVD player for the ride into the city, and backed out of the driveway, I had already spent most of my motherhood energy. We parked and hiked into to the park on the opposite side than I usually park, and met friends to sit down for a picnic. But then my kids couldn’t wear their life jackets because we were too far down the pool, and one slipped on a mossy rock and got hurt, and they all needed me to hold their hands, when I only have two. We just about packed up and left in tears… and then friends convinced me to give it another try. We found a different spot where the kids could play safely, I kissed skinned knees, gave out hugs, dried my own tears and felt so fully alive in my roller coaster role as a mother. We turned the day around had the most wonderful afternoon wading in the icey water, sun beating down on our shoulders, laughing with friends in this city we love so much.
The memory of this moment is all positive and empowering, despite or maybe because of the challenging morning. It was really awesome to sit and share it in the Memory Observatory experience (I totally cried). And laying in the kaleidoscope while the photo reflected overhead with pieces of my voice recounting the challenges, and a burst of fresh, woodsy air blowing in, I got to feel that all over again.
The Memory Observatory is open to everyone, even without a badge, and can be found in the Austin Convention Center, Ballroom B from March 13-14 10am-6pm and March 15 10am-3pm. It’s a really incredible and very unique experience to open up and share not only an image, which we do regularly through social media, but to also share the memory and feelings and smells surrounding the image. I had such a great experience, I want to go back and take my family and go through it together!
It also prompted this feeling of reflection about how I am capturing and recording my moments and memories. How I want to not only take a picture and file it away with the other thousands I have stored on my computer, but do better living and remembering the special moments in my life.
And for more info on both the Kodaks Moments App and The Memory Obervatory, find them on FACEBOOK , TWITTER, and INSTAGRAM.