‘Remembrance: Coral’ by Chanee Choi

Artist confronts the fear of Alzheimer’s that has passed through the generations of her family in this live performance.
Through art and poetry, Remembrance explores themes of degeneration and decay, emphasizing the empathy, compassion, and beauty in all of life's processes.

What is Remembrance: Coral and how did it come to be?

Remembrance: Coral is a biofeedback, gamified, performance art project created to confront the fear of inheriting early onset Alzheimer’s, from which my mother now suffers. The project utilizes machine learning to create interactive animations—similar to video games—that respond to EEG brain sensor interactions. It combines a surrealistic artistic sensibility with technical expertise and represents a culmination of my creative concepts.

The project is designed as a live performance that can take place in a gallery or public space, with the option of live streaming the performance online. The interactive nature of the work allows for a unique and captivating experience that combines the beauty of art with the excitement of a video game performance.

Who initially inspired you to grapple with dementia? 

Remembrance is a deeply personal project that delves into the experiences of my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, all of whom were diagnosed with dementia at a relatively young age. The project serves as a means for me to process the emotions of grief and fear that come with witnessing the devastating impact of this disease on my loved ones. By offering an aesthetic contemplation of dementia, the project celebrates the natural processes of life while drawing on scientific knowledge about the disease.

Dementia carries a significant social stigma in South Korea, where the term for the condition is often equated with foolishness, a remnant of the country’s colonial history. This mindset has led many individuals and families to feel ashamed and to hide from society. The aim of Remembrance is to reject this old-fashioned viewpoint and promote acceptance of neurodiversity, including the state of decay often associated with dementia.

What dementia-related themes does Remembrance address?

Through art and poetry, Remembrance explores themes of degeneration and decay in a thought-provoking manner, shifting the narrative surrounding dementia and emphasizing the empathy, compassion, and beauty in all of life’s processes.

How has Remembrance been received? 

This project explores more deeply the meaning and nature of dementia divorced from its medicalization, perhaps even providing a lens through which the confusion and suffering of our loved ones with dementia can be experienced as something poetic. The process of degeneration is as beautiful as it is painful. The memory of a person living with dementia slowly disappears, but the brain is a sensor that continues to want to collect data. What do we become when this happens?

This work is dedicated to: To my mother, 조명숙

Find more from Chanee Choi on her website, Facebook, Instagram and view a live stream of the performance here.

What is a Spotlight?

The Dementia Arts Spotlight promotes visual and performing artists who are grappling with dementia through original work or innovative arts programs. The Spotlight—in a Q&A format where artists describe the details and significance of their work or program—connects each artist to the Dementia Spring community. Find examples of prior Dementia Arts Spotlights here. Know of an artist whose work should be Spotlighted? Send them this link!

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