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Dalea Kovačec


In Mnemomat (2021–2022), Dalea Kovačec uses the interactive experience and photograph manipulation to draw attention to the influence of photographs and images on our memories and our perception of our own past. 

Photos created in Mnemomat, Mnemomat, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

Photos created in Mnemomat, Mnemomat, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

Photos created in Mnemomat, Mnemomat, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.
Photographs can lead to false beliefs, they are “cognitive springboards” which help us generate thoughts, feelings and new images in our minds. All of these can merge into mental pictures that are very difficult to distinguish from actual lived experiences. Technology is becoming an extension and a co-creator of our memory and consequently of our entire identity. When we transfer our memories onto devices and physical objects, we also transfer the actual process of remembering and the responsibility to remember along with them.

The visitors who enter Mnemomat and consent to the storage and use of their scanned image are first photographed by the machine. Then their face is inserted into a random photograph of an actual event and the machine also adds a random date to the image. The visitors receive a memory in the shape of a photograph and get to keep a newly minted physical reminder of a time and place that never actually existed.

Conceptually, the idea for Mnemomat stems from the examination of the influence of photographs on memory, the theory of false memories and the changing and formation of memories in relation to the personal and the collective. In the context of the epidemic, Mnemomat lays bare the fragile nature of memory in an even simpler and more direct manner. Isolation, loneliness, bans on socializing – circumstances that prevent memories from really anchoring themselves in actual everyday collective events reveal one of the main sources of memories: experiencing a community and spending time within a community. Mnemomat creates memories, but also fills a gap left behind by all the things that perhaps should have happened and never did.

The project was produced by Zavod za umetniško produkcijo 127 and was created in collaboration with Marko Damiš.
Dalea Kovačec, Mnemomat, 2022. Photo: Matic Pandel / Courtesy of the artist.

Dalea Kovačec (1993) has graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, where she also pursued her MFA in painting. She was an exchange student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 2014/15. Her work revolves around the exploration of human perception through different media and is predominantly focused on the theme of memory, especially on the relationship between memory and medium in different social contexts. She likes to involve children and the local community in her projects and regularly collaborates with experts from various fields of expertise. She has exhibited her work in several solo and group exhibitions, among others in Ljubljana at Osmo/za, DobraVaga, the Kamera gallery in Kino Šiška, Alkatraz, GalerijaGallery, Galerija Škuc, P74 and Ravnikar Gallery Space; at KiBela in Maribor, Improper Walls and Photon Gallery in Vienna, WARP in Sint-Niklaas in Belgium and at Spike Art Quarterly – Project space in Berlin. She received an award for a series of works in various media from the University of Ljubljana’s Academy of Fine Arts and Design in 2018 and was nominated for the OHO Award in 2021.

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