The Memory Matrix is a monument that explores the possibilities for future heritage creation, employing new fabrication techniques and transcultural workshops. The Matrix is made of border fences carrying over 20,000 small fluorescent Plexiglas elements. These elements are laser cut with holes outlining vanished heritage from Syria, Iraq, Yemen and beyond. The pixels are connected to unique entries in the globally distributed Bitcoin blockchain serving as cryptographically encoded and virtually indestructible evidence of a community’s history and heritage. The larger matrix of pixels reveals an image of the recently destroyed Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph, now only visible through movement of light and wind.

This solidarity-building and educational enterprise was conceived by ACT Assistant Professor Azra Aksamija and is produced with the help of MIT students and a diverse range of partners within the MIT community and participants from the Maker Faire in Cairo and Syrian refugee camps in Jordan. This collaborative making process is a seed for a longer-term mission of the project – to benefit the education of Syrian refugees.

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