In Greek mythology, Mnemosyne was the goddess of memory and mother of the Muses, possessing all knowledge of past, present, and future. In Orphist tradition, Mnemosyne referred to a river of the underworld which ran parallel to the Lethe. While dead souls were prompted to drink from the Lethe to forget their past lives before reincarnation, those that knew to drink from the Mnemosyne retained their memory into the next life.
As our landscapes begin to undergo accelerated transformation in the era of climate change, the individual and collective memories of such places become increasingly poignant. Timothy Morton has described the experience of place amid climate change as "uncanny" in the way that it renders once-familiar landscapes suddenly strange and unfamiliar. Such experiences fall within the category of solastalgia, referring to the the distress and disorientation associated with environmental change. 
In their slow, undulating dance with the Earth, rivers become key sites for the practice of landscape memory in flux. This project uses the gaming engine Unity to create a fictional landscape in which this kind of contemplation can occur. In this fantasy world, water serves as a mediator between memory and time—to enter the river is to be transported to a future in which it has all but dried up. In this scenario, however, the richness of place remains straddled across these two moments: the fertile and the barren, the present and the recollected. The strong current and steep banks of the river serve as physiosensory proxy for the struggle to remember, while elements such as waterfalls linger upon awakening like the hangover of a dream. Given the experiential qualities of the two worlds, the player is asked to question which one is truly the present, and further, which one is truly the desert?
Back to Top