Personal memories are the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves. They become the basis for the way we relate to each other, and ultimately, shape the world. Now that smartphones have given users a startlingly efficient documentation tool, we have no shortage of digital artifacts of our personal stories. But how do we make meaning out of this digital detritus?

Why Music?

As it turns out, music is a powerful tool in unlocking detailed, nuanced personal memories. Because of the way it interacts with our brain, music triggers do an amazing job of capturing and cataloging memories. Music calls to us on a personal level, but it is of the larger world. It is therefore an amazing tool in drawing us out of ourselves, and connecting us to each other.

For those looking to create meaningful records of their life, Noteworthy is a platform that uses music as the means to document their personal stories as well as begin sincere conversations with friends and family.

How Did I Get Here?

I’ve always been a relentless documenter. When I was growing up I would amass ticket stubs, souvenir pins, and photographs, compiling them all into scrapbooks, trying to hold on to those moments of of the past.

In the age of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, we’ve all become documenters. Almost everyone on earth has a camera at every moment, and it’s estimated that the world collectively has taken over 3.5 trillion photos, with the numbers growing every day.

But in all this documentation, what’s the heart of what we’re trying to capture? I started to explore what we do with these artifacts, the way we make these memories into stories, stories that ultimately say something about our identity. And in all this memory making, what are we missing? I also explored the neurobiology of memory, how it works, what happens when we recall a memory, and what things do we remember, without ever realizing we’ve remembered them?

To read more, visit my process blog



Video of the presentation of this project at the 2014 SVA IxD Thesis Festival

OPEN IxD: Empower, Beth Wernet from MFA Interaction Design on Vimeo.





Some early motion studies:





An early concept of the project tested encrypting memory artifacts to be opened only at a later date, exploring the idea that memories are altered every time we remember them.



Experience Maps

One of the most fascinating things about how music affects memory is that it, at the same time, is both deeply personal, and a collective and shared experience. This allows for many permutations and touchpoints for how we might interact with a music based memory and story platform.