November 1, 2019
ひろがり・つづける「 記憶の解凍 」Continuing Development of the “Rebooting Memories” Project
The lack of color in monochrome photographs of the past seem to have the effect of increasing the distance between the prewar past and the colorful reality of the present day. When looking at such black-and-white images we may feel as if they do not belong to us. It was with this problem in mind that I started work on the “rebooting memories” project in cooperation with Anju Niwata, a high-school student in Hiroshima.
“Rebooting Memories” is a project that attempts to create a space for dialogue based on photographs colorized with artificial intelligence. By “rebooting” the “frozen” images of the past using the latest technology and stimulating communication around those images, the memories of the past can be perpetuated into the future.
The project gained much attention last year when it was displayed at the UN Headquarters in New York, the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, and a major exhibition held at a TV station in Hiroshima.
This summer, 74 years after the end of the Second World War, our work was featured in programs “NNN Document” and “news zero” broadcast by Nippon Television, and “#Achikochi no Suzusan” by NHK, in addition to numerous newspaper and online articles. Having begun as an obscure project growing out of a young person’s imagination, it has now finally gained widespread public attention.
Subsequently, a paper reporting our activities received full marks from two reviewers and was chosen for the Art Paper division of the international computer graphics conference, SIGGRAPH ASIA 2019. Furthermore, Ms. Niwata’s achievements were recognized in her final year of high school with a special prize in a contest sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Association of Japan.
We look forward to continuing our work incorporating the ever increasing expressive means provided by technological development.
Text: Hidenori Watanave (Professor)
Translation: David Buist (Project Senior Specialist)