Barcelona opens an office to recreate lost memories with AI at the DHub

The Public Office of Synthetic Memories at Disseny Hub Barcelona (DHub) is a project backed by the creative studio Domestic Data Streamers in collaboration with Barcelona City Council and Ciutat Proactiva BIT Habitat.

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21/05/2024 - 11:17 h - Smart City Ajuntament de Barcelona

Barcelona opens the Public Office of Synthetic Memories at Disseny Hub Barcelona (DHub) until 29 July. This is a speculative project developed by the creative studio Domestic Data Streamers in collaboration with Barcelona City Council through the ‘Proactive City’ call for urban-innovation grant and subsidy applications promoted by the BIT Habitat Foundation.

The Public Office of Synthetic Memories is a space open to the public for the reconstruction and visual recovery of all those memories that were never recorded and are now at risk of falling into oblivion. The aim is to create an archive of AI-reconstructed visual memories to help future generations understand and preserve the history of their past.

The project uses generative artificial intelligence (GEN-AI) to make visual reconstructions of the memories of visitors to the office in the form of images and videos. This technology acts as an intergenerational bridge: it encourages older people in the city to recreate their memories while getting the younger generations involved in the reconstruction process.

This process is split into two stages. The person wishing to obtain a visual recreation of their memories is first interviewed in detail about a specific experience chosen by them. AI images based on that personal testimony are generated during the interview and presented to them at the end of the session.

A creative centre open to everyone 

Anyone can make an appointment to create a visual reconstruction of their memories at the Public Office of Synthetic Memories. The office has a team that specialises in both the use of this new technology and the process used to recreate these memories. Each session takes 45-60 minutes, during which a written and visual testimony of each personal story is created.

The initiative is part of the Synthetic Memories research project designed by the creative studio Domestic Data Streamers, which includes designers, researchers, artists, programmers, data scientists and journalists who are exploring how to express and work with new data languages using communication, design, interaction, robotics, AI, websites, performance arts and space design. Furthermore, the studio has been supported in this project by partners such as Ojalá Projects and Gennís Senén.

Innovative solutions for better community relations

The Public Office of Synthetic Memories was one of the winning projects in The Proactive City 2023, the annual call for urban-innovation grant and subsidy applications held by Barcelona City Council’s BIT Habitat Foundation. Specifically, the 2023 edition sought to find innovative solutions to improve community relations in the city, awarding grants to cover 80% of the winning projects’ costs. All The Proactive City winners have the opportunity to implement their projects in real environments and verify the achievement of the expected impacts.

A total of 29 projects have been supported since The Proactive City was first launched in 2020 as part of the strategy aimed at placing urban innovation at the service of Barcelona city and its inhabitants.

Imatge gràfica de La Ciutat Proactiva 2024.

Graphic image for “The Proactive City 2024”