Memory code (2013)

Please, read the QR code with the help of your smartphone and watch a video. A list of QR reader apps for smart phones:

  • iPhone : QRReader, Qrafter
  • Android: QR Droid
  • Blackberry: Barcode Assistant


The past does not grow in a natural way, it is a product of cultural creative work.
Jan Assman. Cultural memory

German critic Jens Schröter distinguishes between three main functions of modern archives — transmission, blurring the border between personal and public and digitalisation. Modern archives are not covered with dust folders with documents and old photographs, stored in museum cabinets, never used by anyone apart from specialists. The main attribute of modern archives is the possibility to transmit data.

Nowadays our personal memories become public, they are stored at web-pages of numerous social networks instead of private family albums. Collective knowledge and memory has been long ago transformed into digital format (recall Google). But what do we do with our personal memory about the past, close relatives who passed away?

There is no doubt that QR-code is not a universal nor ideal way to safe and transmit data. Someday, maybe very soon, it will disappear and the new more suited format might appear. But it also obvious that data in digital era can last forever only if it is constantly transformed from one format to another. Digital images surpass time also because of continuous reproduction and transmission. Memory about a person (and his photographic image) is alive as long as it is being addressed, stored with care and is drawn from time to time, thus giving a new life to images from the past.

For this project I generated QR codes using private photographs of deceased relatives of my friends. Instead of black squares it consists of many, many copies of a small archive photograph of the deceased beloved one. When one scans the code with the smartphone, one sees the photo and hears the story about the person who passed away, which is told by their child/grandchild.

QR-code is  here a code of the valuable personal memory, which one can share. Personal memory, while resisting a loss, become a part of the collective digital memory.