Cultural anthropologists such as Mary Douglas have long since established that the choice of certain objects as social representatives is also a way of choosing how and what to be in the world.

In the case of Barbara, an elderly woman with senile dementia, her collaboration with Chloe Meineck in the creation of a music box has meant an opportunity to cling on to her dearest memories.

Recent studies by neurologist Oliver Sacks have shown how music can help to reactivate the memories of patients with memory loss, either due to senile dementia or Alzheimer’s. Sacks said that musical or sound perception throws up the most persistent memories.

Based on that premise and with the aim of collecting a series of objects treasured by Barbara, Meineck designed the Music Memory Box. Said objects, that were chosen by Barbara along with the pieces of music, allow her to associate them with important stages of her life.

Barbara threads together the relationship between the objects and her life story via a sensitivity for sound that is transmitted to her via songs such as “Country Gardens.” The movement of each of the objects and the radio frequency identification (RFID) labels, which allow for the association of an object with a determined piece of music, awaken her sound sensitivity.

A porcelain rabbit given to her by her grandmother when she was ill with measles and the piano music that plays as she handles a replica of it, designed by Meineck, facilitates her association with the moment in which her grandmother taught her to dance polka.

Meineck’s aim is to continue collaborating with the elderly in designs that can help them with memory loss but on a larger scale. It will be interesting to follow the designer’s projects as they are very useful instruments when it comes to diminishing the ominous effect of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and allow us to retain one of the most precious gifts that humans are given: the capacity to remember.

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Cultural anthropologists such as Mary Douglas have long since established that the choice of certain objects as social representatives is also a way of choosing how and what to be in the world.

In the case of Barbara, an elderly woman with senile dementia, her collaboration with Chloe Meineck in the creation of a music box has meant an opportunity to cling on to her dearest memories.

Recent studies by neurologist Oliver Sacks have shown how music can help to reactivate the memories of patients with memory loss, either due to senile dementia or Alzheimer’s. Sacks said that musical or sound perception throws up the most persistent memories.

Based on that premise and with the aim of collecting a series of objects treasured by Barbara, Meineck designed the Music Memory Box. Said objects, that were chosen by Barbara along with the pieces of music, allow her to associate them with important stages of her life.

Barbara threads together the relationship between the objects and her life story via a sensitivity for sound that is transmitted to her via songs such as “Country Gardens.” The movement of each of the objects and the radio frequency identification (RFID) labels, which allow for the association of an object with a determined piece of music, awaken her sound sensitivity.

A porcelain rabbit given to her by her grandmother when she was ill with measles and the piano music that plays as she handles a replica of it, designed by Meineck, facilitates her association with the moment in which her grandmother taught her to dance polka.

Meineck’s aim is to continue collaborating with the elderly in designs that can help them with memory loss but on a larger scale. It will be interesting to follow the designer’s projects as they are very useful instruments when it comes to diminishing the ominous effect of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and allow us to retain one of the most precious gifts that humans are given: the capacity to remember.

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