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Potential Brand Collaborators

With Apple being one of if the most famous technological country in the world, with such a wide variety of products that pave the way for technical innovation, it would be very beneficial for Rare Dementia Support to collaborate with them for the event. With the use of their earphones as well as iPods for the musical aspect of the event. Also, its dominant status in society and the high volume of customers as well as social media followers, the word is sure to spread about the event, generating a strong buzz for ‘pathway’. Raising awareness for FTD is paramount to the event, and with Apple sitting at the forefront of everything it seems, with their collaborations delving into multiple fields, thus really expanding the brand’s demographic. For example, Apple released a red iPhone in partnership with the licensed brand, RED “harnesses the power of people and companies to fight AIDS. (RED) partners with the world’s most iconic brands that contribute profits from the sale of (RED)-branded products and experiences to the Global Fund.” This raised awareness for the impact that this disease has on today’s society and the way in which the product was so simple in the fact it was just a phone, with the only difference to the other products being it was all red was what Apple is best at today: simple yet effective designs except this one goes towards change. They also collaborated with IKEA last year, which heightens the fact that the brand is open to explore many creative outlets for to achieve further innovation and awareness for causes.

 

Marshall are a brand that have various products in their repertoire ranging from amplifiers to craft beer, but it’s their highly reviewed headphones that are the main focus of interest in the potential collaboration with Rare Dementia Support. Partnering up with this brand, whereby we supply the participants in the event with a pair of Marshall headphones that play their personalised playlist whilst they travel through the maze would be incredible and with the calibre of Marshall and not to mention the universal following they have maintained for decades, will ensure popularity for the ‘pathway’ event as well as raising awareness for the positive affirmations that music therapy can have for people suffering from brain and memory degenerative diseases. The brand’s pure love and devotion for music will shine through if they were to be collaborating with the charity for this event and that would be such a strong selling point for educating individuals, thus raising the critical awareness paramount for ‘pathway’, as well as reaching a wide audience, encouraging their followers and customers to attend. Also, being that Marshal was founded in 1960, its established brand amongst multiple generations will work to reach the wide audience that ‘pathway’ targets.

 

Beats is the newest of the brands that I have researched, only being launched in 2006, however it has managed to achieve so much in this little space of time as this field of music and creative engineering is very competitive. With products including, headphones, earphones and speakers, it has cemented itself as a strong contender within this industry, thus making the brand a great potential partner for the ‘pathway’ event. Reaching millions worldwide, there’s no doubt that Beats mass following will gain a lot of buzz for the event in helping raise awareness for this cause. However, the target market is slightly more geared to that of a younger demographic, with it being most popular with millennials and the Generation Z, meaning that although it fits in well with the majority of the ‘pathway’s’ chosen target audience, it is a slightly less known company for the 40-50-year-olds, meaning that their form of marketing might have to be tweaked and developed to tie in more with the event. Beats was also acquired by Apple Inc. in 2014 so with their combined efforts, it could make for an incredibly strong collaboration.

 

Bose’s slogan reads: “better sound through research”. The mention of research in their slogan elevates its connection to the ‘pathway’ event in how it will not only be raising awareness for FTD and rare dementia diseases, but also the power of music therapy which is a creative research method that needs to be realised and utilised for patients in order to allow their memories to return to them, even if it is for just a short while. Nonetheless, this discovery in research and how Bose’s brand strives to continue to develop their products through research makes them a great potential collaborator with Rare Dementia Support. “An idea became an obsession. And that became who we are.” Bose’s statement of the company’s inception simply, but clearly demonstrates their strong commitment to their work and how the brand is consumed in delivering the absolute best product they can create to their customers. This type of commitment is a great example of continuing to strive for innovation and constantly better themselves, values that the Rare Dementia Support charity and it’s ‘pathway’ event share, thus making it a strong potential partnership. Also, with Bose’s iconic and highly sought after products, and the fact that the company has been established since 1964, means that they can reach the event’s target market and their mass following will help to achieve awareness for both the event and the cause.

 

After much deliberation, considering that these brands all share the ability to work cohesively with the Rare Dementia Support charity and would work to excel promotion for the ‘pathway’ event immensely, I have decided that Bose is the best fit. The use of their critically acclaimed headphones and innovative technology and the fact that they are such an established brand that reaches such a wide age range makes them a perfect match for collaborating with the charity for this event. Their focus on research in their company is the key factor that brought them to be my first choice for this partnership. “Of course, you could say we’re best known for our audio products. But our true passion? Discovering new and better solutions than anything that’s come before. We “always dream of things that are better, and think of ways to reach those things”. This shared ethos of working towards the future and desperately trying to find better solutions for things is exactly what music therapy does for dementia patients, through music they start to remember and it give them the ability to re-claim their lives and their identities back.

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Final Design Logo

After analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the six fonts I selected as potential typefaces for the ‘pathway’ logo, I opted for ‘Helvetica Neue Thin’. This was predominantly due the airiness the font style projects as well as the juxtaposition between its simplistic delicacy and the strength of the bold staple text that works to encompass the feel of the event, in communicating a familiarity and comforting presence. It is also one of, if not, the most used font and will appeal directly to the majority of the event’s target audience. I paired the event’s name with the slogan ‘MUSIC IS MEDICINE’ to tie the two focuses of the event together clearly for the audience to instantly recognise the inspiration behind the event. The puzzle-like structure of the location of event being held at a maze and the intricate pathways one must take in order to reach the end is represented in the name of the event, ‘pathway’ and the slogan ‘MUSIC IS MEDICINE’ illustrates the other aspect of the event. That being the use of every participant being supplied with Bose headphones and their own personalised Spotify playlist created by the event’s co-ordinators through the responses of a questionnaire each person will complete before entering the maze. This aspect allows the individual to experience the power and ingenious effects of music therapy as they venture deeper and deeper into the maze, whilst simultaneously allowing the music of their past and present to flow through them, unlocking their minds and allowing themselves to let the wave of memories take over their subconscious. Music is a healing tool, not just for dementia patients but also in everyday life for those who lead completely normal lives, every song has the power to trigger a memory for us and it’s something that is completely overlooked, but it’s powerful ability to evoke such strong emotions means that it’s effects can be life changing. The second display of the logo on the background of a close-up shot of the Hampton Court Maze creates a simple poster design for the event. The use of this image, helps to further communicate the nature of the event as well as working to enhance the strength of the meaning behind it’s given name. The colour scheme of the greens paired with pastel yellow bond well together, thus creating an aesthetically pleasing combination that works to evoke feelings of warmth and comfort.

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Typography Experimentatoion

1)2)             3) 4)           5) 6)

The name of the event whereby the Rare Dementia Support charity will partner up with a company in the music industry is ‘pathway’. When your memory is triggered it fires neurons along the pathway of the synapses of your mind causing the individual to remember. Also, the idea of following the pathway of the intricate and complex puzzle of the maze mirroring that act within your mind was such a powerful connection that I felt that ‘pathway’ was just the perfect word to parallel the both internal and external acts, both sharing the ability to unlock our minds. I chose for the colour of the logo to be a very light shade of yellow to symbolise the pathways of your brain being illuminated your memory is triggered. Design 1) is in the font style ‘Helvetica Thin’. Helvetica is the most popular font right now and is heavily used, which may make it seem overused and therefore undesirable but there is a reason for its popularity. It’s simplistic sans-serif type is clear and very strong in terms of dominating a page and using the thin version as opposed to the regular gives it a much more subtle and gentle touch, introducing a delicacy to the type very much like the cause, but also projects a boldness that communicate the event’s absolute necessity. With the primary target market for the event to be both millennials and Generation Z, this font being popular and even used for the main body text on some social media sites, will be an easy identifier and will create a sense of familiarity. Design 2) is in the typeface ‘Neo Sans Bold’ which is again an example of a striking font that illustrates great clarity and depth but I feel that the type is slightly too thick, thus projecting a slightly more intimidating aesthetic in comparison to Design 1) which shares the same qualities but ultimately is much softer. Design 3) is in the font ‘Times New Roman’ a classic font used by many for countless years. However, it’s strong associations with traditionalism doesn’t captivate what we are trying to communicate with the event as it’s based on innovation and modernisation in terms of progress in forward thinking in both areas of science and creativity. Design 4) is in the font ‘Shooken Regular’ and is much more of a fluid, relaxed font than any of the previous designs, but it’s structure is slightly too sketch-like and leans towards messy which is not something that the event should communicate. This element doesn’t correlate well with that of the structure of a maze itself which is structured with great detail and complexity that is hard to decipher. Design 5) is in the typeface ‘Brush Script MT Italic’ and this design takes what strong elements Design 4) had and takes them in a much stronger direction in terms of connecting to the brand and the identity we want it to represent. With its free-flowing form and elegant script it definitely introduces a delicacy to it that is important for the event’s logo. However, much like Design 3) it’s formality steers away from what the event stands to communicate to the audience as well as appealing to the primary target audience, as I feel that typical ‘fancy’ fonts aren’t as well received as more simplistically designed typefaces. Design 6) is in the font ‘Dopestyle Regular’ and combines the positive elements of Design 3) and Design 4) and is a much stronger typeface in combining these strengths in terms of being more appealing to a younger demographic, whilst maintaing that free-flowing feeling that comes with innovative thinking. However, visually it could be considered a bit hectic and loud and we want the event to speak for itself, simply but effectively so I think this font is a bit too busy.

 

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Concept 2 – Development

My initial starting point of exploring identity in the form of focusing on the brain. This quickly led to intensive research into the mystery of the mind, memory, dreams, diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia and the various amazing creative theories and therapies that have been developed to help connect back to life again.

These studies have led me to want to solely focus on combining my research on Frontotemporal Disease (FTD) and the beautiful results of music memory and music therapy and their connections to our memories and sense of self.

With music proving to hold such strong emotional connections to our memories, triggering memories that hold key significance in shaping ourselves as individuals, a musical company such as Apple or Bose will partner with an FTD charity for an event. As FTD can target people as young as teenagers, this will target a wide target market of 16-50.  The event will hold its event in one of the UK’s iconic mazes or labyrinths whilst listening to a personal playlist that is created once you fill in a questionnaire before attending the event. It will exercise your mind and cognitive thinking and allow you have memories come up to the surface while partaking in this immersive experience whereby it’s pathways that can lead to the unlocking of your mind.

 

 

 

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Analogue Photography

Photographs themselves capture a moment in time, forever frozen, forever existing. And this is one of the predominant reasons why the power of a photograph is so profound. They act as mementos and immediately trigger a memory to resurface whether its deep within your mind from childhood or as recent as the previous night. Regardless, photographs can end up being included in some of your prized possessions, and this image of my late grandad and myself is definitely one of them. My grandad was a great man and he was definitely unique but he suffered a lot medically but it never derailed his spirit and uncontrollable ability to laugh and for that laugh and insane sense of humour to be infectious to anyone around him. The framing of this photograph and the beautiful shadows cast by my fairy lights and the shadows the illuminating light creates works to create a very aesthetically pleasing image that mirrors that of the picture I photographed. The tonal range in this photograph introduces great harmony to the piece but also immense depth, with the shade of light to dark slowly progressing through the image from top to bottom. The intimacy present in this photograph is overwhelming to me personally, however I feel that strong emotional connections can be evoked through the sheer depth and clarity of the love displayed in this image. This image evokes love and joy, for remembering the brilliant and crazy man Joseph Perkin was, but also great loss and pain for the fact that he has departed this world, he is no longer with me and I can no longer share my experiences on this earth with him. Until the next life.

Christmas time at my home is such a special time for my family. It is my mum’s favourite holiday so it is celebrated surrounded my family, food, and fun. This photograph that I took of both of my parents opening presents that my sister and I had bought them, I feel, fully encapsulates the feeling of Christmas. The excited, the anticipation, the joy you feel for absolutely no reason just because it’s Christmas Day. All of these elements work to evoke such strong feelings of wonder and happiness. These kinds of moments and the fact that they are capture on camera, allow me to look back and instantly be reminded of that Christmas when my parents were so happy radiates through the entire image. Studies have shown that we are more likely to remember things like photographs and advertisements that are in colour, and in most cases I would agree, however, there is an element of a black and white image that just holds so much more feeling and emotion within it that can sometimes be more easily overlooked in a colour image because you are so focused on the different colours present that the actual message the image itself is trying to communicate to you. Feelings of comfort and warmth are present in this photograph, thus making it incredibly compelling as you, as the viewer, feel as if you are right there with them, due to the vantage point of where the picture was taken, wanting to know what gift they’re going to open next.

For the social media generation, for most of them, their phone is their life. Whether its three dozen selfies, drunken videos you’re your university friends at three in the morning at a Burger King or at home with your family, everything is documented. This provides people with a literal library of memories in the form of pictures and videos, each one having the power for a memory to resurface. This photograph is a representation of that, as it displays an image of my sister and I at her graduation that I used as my wallpaper. Meaning that every time I check my phone I am greeted with the image of this photograph and am instantly taken back to that day and with that the emotions of pride and joy that came from watching my older sister leave university with a sense of achievement and accomplishment, and a promising future ahead of her. The juxtaposition to the strong emotional connections held with the photograph on display and the haphazard nature it is immersed in, being that of my messy university bed, currently riddled with various clothing articles, introduces a unique energy to the piece. It makes the photograph evoke feelings of familiarity, as well as giving a slight insight to the type of person this phone and environment might belong to, thus allowing the viewer to create a sort of narrative which brings great depth to the photograph.

 

 

The juxtaposition between the sharp, formidable, uniform lines present by both the balcony itself as well as the solid black shadows across the concrete patio and the soft, rippling waves in the pool water are so captivating. The drastic difference of texture presented by both of these elements work to bring a sense of confusion and balance to the piece, thus increasing the intensity of the juxtaposition present in the image, thus creating a very visually dynamic photograph with great depth. From the vantage point at which this image is, taken there are many possibilities that the viewer can come up with in terms of narrative. The idea of surface and what lies beneath it in layers, from the balcony down to the water’s surface, then even deeper under the water, evokes an intensity in creating a feeling of wanting to get through all of these layers and obstacles to figure out what lies beneath the surface, but contrastingly, they also the scene itself can depict sadness and lonliness. This is intensified through the tonal range and the strong presence of dark shadows from both the balcony at the bottom of the image and the trees present at the top of the image, with their reflection bleeding into the water. This feeling of sadness is heightened by the monochromatic nature of this photograph, as if it were in colour the vivid blues of the water and pure white of the balcony and the shadows cast by the beaming Greek sun would offer up a completely different set of emotions.

I love the composition of this image. The way the eye is immediately drawn to the single glass on the floor between the two sunbeds is stunning. The use of having the foreground of the image out of focus and the background in focus makes the image very visually dynamic but also highlights the importance that of the glass, forcing the viewer to think deeper about its relevance and what it means. The sense of narrative is key in photography as it is a still, a frozen moment where nothing exists beyond that image, we as a viewer are given free rein to decide what it’s trying to communicate with us, with varying conclusions and interpretations which is why photography holds so much power. This image, and the lone glass, makes me refer back to the novel, ‘The Leftovers’ whereby suddenly 2% of the world’s population “depart” from earth, leaving everyone else behind to try and make sense of what happened and how they move on with their lives without them. Maybe the glass has been left by someone never to return, the glass that holds their DNA, the only remnant that they existed? Or perhaps that person has just finished the contents of the glass and has placed in on the floor whilst they return to bathing in the sun? Sometimes the real story behind a photograph and the one that a viewer concocts in their mind can be wildly different or incredibly similar, though ultimately creating the opportunity for pure imagination.

Hypnotic. That is the very first word that comes to mind upon my first glance at this photograph as the fluidity and movement present in the image is just instantly visualised by the viewer, purely from the memory, thus bringing great complexity to the shot. The tonal range is simply stunning and brings both balance and harmony to the pieces and also works to bring great depth to the pieces. The unique lines and shapes created by the ripple effect caused by the water is simply enthralling and almost acts as an optical illusion to the viewer, instantly pulling them in. The intricacy and immense detail present by the shadows cast by the sunlight directly above the water is beautiful and evokes a calming effect as well as a sense of urgency. These conflicting feelings mirror that of the strong contrast between bright white and dark black tones in the water. My favourite element of this shot is how occasionally (particularly at the bottom right), the white streaks almost blast across the image like lightning bolts, introducing great clarity, but this is then juxtaposed with the slightly blurred lines that introduce an almost ghostly effect to the photograph. Much alike the first image, the perspective of the shot, and how it is taken from above, provides the viewer with the feeling of placing themselves as looking right over into the water. Providing this feeling of the wanting to immerse yourself into the water, breaking that barrier, and discovering what lies beneath the surface of that beautiful, complex pattern works to intensify that initial hypnotic element.

 

Experimentation

After analysing my analogue photography images, I then chose to experiment further with a different medium, manipulating the shots digitally, overlaying them with the colours that I personally see when I look at them, remembering the memory and time attached to each image. This I feel great personal significance for me, and as a photographer the ability to look at black and white photographs and transform them into colour in this way makes for great and powerful images both visually as stand-alone experimentation and also when compared with the original black and white photographs. Using such a simple digital technique to transform these images from striking monochromatic photographs to sit almost in an in-between state between black and white and colour is quite striking. I chose for the first image to be given a light purple overlay as I felt that with the strong emotional attachments to the piece that colour is instantly what I envisioned when remembering my grandad. Blue has calming associations and green represents growth and life and the purple connotes a combination of the two, infusing all of these elements together to symbolise pure remembrance and celebration of the life my grandad had. There is a subtle level of romanticism linked to the image in this sense, which works to capture the feeling of love and bond so apparent in this photograph. I gave the second photograph a green overlay and made it quite intense to symbolise the time of year that the photograph was taken, as it synonymous with various Christmas decorations and of course, a Christmas tree. Also, green presents feelings of comfort and warmth and evokes a strong sense of being grounded, and for me that is what family represents – a place where you can truly be yourself free from judgment. On the day of my sister’s graduation I wore a coral dress that I bought especially for the occasion, and when I look back on that day I always think about that dress that I was wearing, which is why I chose for the third image to be overlaid with a coral, red colour. This, in terms of memory, strikes up some interesting ideas in relation to the various elements that can trigger a certain memory. It’s the same on the inverse, as whenever I see that dress hung up in my wardrobe, my mind always takes me back to that day and I am brought back to the feelings of pride and adoration for my sister.

 

With all of these photographs being taken in Kefalonia, Greece, all of the colours I used were bright, bold and vivid all laced with warm and vibrant connotations to mirror that of the vacation itself as well as the spectacular location it was alone. I loved the sombre element and feeling of loneliness and isolation that was present in the original of this first shot, so for the first image, I chose to make this overlay the least intense and remain much softer, in order to maintain that dark edge, but also introducing a hint of romanticism, thus also presenting feelings of comfort and hope to the image. The intensity of the two shades of blue used in both the second shot, with the introduction of the pop of glistening turquoise, and the third photograph, with its stunning electric cobalt fully embody the colourful landscapes of the location where the photographs were taken. This element makes both photographs incredibly captivating and instantly grab the attention of the viewer. The gorgeous turquoise seen in Figure 187 mirrors that of the colour of the crystal clear waters of the caves and beaches we visited on the island, so this colour holds strong associations with the sense of calm but pure wonder I felt when present at these truly breath-taking locations. The unique and dynamic shapes present in the water of the third image are even more striking and entrancing with the use of the piercing blue hue added to the original image that work to add great depth to the shot. My prior research of colour theory and the importance of colour connotations and associations for dementia patients is my main source of inspiration for my experimentation solely with the use of colour overlays to communicate the emotional responses to a memory. I feel that certain emotions and feelings also have strong associations with specific colours and I thought it important to emphasis the strong effect that this can have for the individual.

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Survey – Music, Colour & Memory

  

      

 

After completing extensive research on memory and the various theories surrounding it, I decided to conduct a survey specifically focusing on music and colour associations with memory. The overwhelming result was that our memories can have powerful and emotional attachments to music. This supports the research that I have done into music therapy and music memory. Also, the strong, emotional connections that are formed with certain memories are often those laced with two extreme ends of the spectrum either joy and excitement or loss and pain. Colour associations with memory however, proved to be a slightly less realised concept upon the individuals that completed the survey as the response as to whether specific colours have strong connections to memories varied from ‘Strongly agree’ to ‘Disagree’ with the majority saying that they ‘Neither agree not disagree’. The attachment with a particular location, people, song, feeling and smell were all identified by most if not all of the participants as key factors that trigger a memory. Interestingly, one participant commented that, “I feel that emotions definitely trigger memories, but location, music and people more so. Location always causes De Ja Vu and can help you remember distant childhood memories which can make you laugh and cry.” This spoke to me in the sense that simply by being in this one place can immediately take you back to a memory that is located so deep in the recesses of your mind but the surroundings bring it to the forefront of your memory and can sometimes be so vivid, thus enforcing the sheer complexities of memory. Ultimately, going forward, with the relationship between music and memory being such an inspiration to me, as well as the idea of colour theory, particularly in terms of associations with memory degenerative conditions, receiving feedback on my ideas and my research just reaffirms the validity of the importance of memory and how it can be awakened through various creative yet simple methods.

 

 

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Academic Journal – The Unconscious Mind

The ideas presented in this academic journal by Dr C.G. Jung entitled ‘Psychology of the Unconscious’ works in tandem with the theories curate by Sigmund Freud. Jung’s work follows on from Freud’s initial theories surrounding memory and Jung goes on to explore the concept behind the unconscious mind and the way in which the individual buries specific memories deep within the recess of the mind, only existing in their unconscious state and how the memory seperates memories and where they are stored depending on their emotional associations. “Psychoanalysis is the name given to the method developed for reaching down into the hidden depths of the individual to bring to light the underlying motives and determinants of his symptoms and attitudes, and to reveal the unconscious tendencies, which lie behind actions and reactions and which influence development and determine the relations of life itself. The result of digging down into the hidden psyche has been to produce a mass of material from below the threshold of consciousness, so astonishing and disturbing and out of relation with the previously held values, as to arouse in any one unfamiliar with the process the strongest antagonism and criticism.” The idea of having memories come to the surface or having a repressed memory resurface after using some form of therapy to trigger a memory that may have been attached to immense grief or crippling pain and emotional turmoil is such a powerful concept in that without your own knowledge your own mind protects and defends itself from having to re-live those feelings, which is simply astounding and speaks to the sheer power of the human mind. “The differences observed were seen to be rather in the reactions to life and to the conflicts produced by contending forces in the individual. These conflicts, usually not fully perceived by the individual, and having to do with objectionable desires and wishes that are not in keeping with the conscious idea of self, produce marked effects which are expressed either in certain opinions, prejudices, attitudes of conduct, faulty actions, or in some definite pathologic symptom. As Dr Jung says, he who remains healthy has to struggle with the same complexes that cause the neurotic to fall ill.”

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Academic Journal – Repressed Memory

Freud’s concepts and theories both on dreams and also screen memory have been works that I have read in the past that I have found to be incredibly insightful and frankly ahead of their time. So, when I happened upon his work “The Aetilogy of Hysteria”, whereby he mentions the theory of repressed memory, I was compelled to use it for my research. His studies on the ego and the link between memory and the unconscious mind and the storage of repressed memories is so fascinating and offers up an exceptional theory about how our mind’s operate and how our memory relocates memories based on their emotional attachments. “I then put forward the view that the outbreak of hysteria may almost invariably be traced to a psychical conflict arising through an incompatible idea setting in action a defence on the part of the ego and calling up a demand for repression. What the circumstances are in which a defensive endeavour of this kind has the pathological effect of actually thrusting the memory which is distressing to the ego into the unconscious and of creating a hysterical symptom in its place I was not able to say at that time.” The idea of a maze or a labyrinth being able to unlock your mind, in a sense, raises an important idea in conjunction with that of Freud’s repressed memory theory, almost using these structures to act as a hypnotic tool to unlock repressed memories that are buried deep within your unconscious mind.

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Academic Journal – Spatial Learning and Memory

“Maneuvering safely through the environment is central to survival of almost all species.” This quote from this academic journal simply states that our brain’s ability to give us the tools to both learn and remember locations is vital to get us where we need to go and is ultimately key to our own survival. “This capacity is encoded in the brain by two systems: one using cues outside the organism (distal cues), allocentric navigation, and one using self-movement, internal cues and nearby proximal cues, egocentric navigation.” The presentation of these two systems and how we utilise them in navigation introduces such an interesting concept. Both allocentric navigation and egocentric navigation access different types of memory. The most interesting aspect about egocentric navigation is that it “encodes routes and integrated paths and, when overlearned, becomes procedural memory,” meaning that the brain transforms the navigation from one form of memory to another when our minds seem to fully understand the journey of particular places. What I find so amazing about this particular aspect is that we as individuals completely overlook this as we just consider it routine and familiarity when in fact it is simply the act of basic human memory, and yet it comes with so many complexities. The fact that these two systems are studied using the Morris water maze (MWM) experiments using mice and rodents as the subjects illustrates how the use of a studying and learning a maze-like structure can unlock certain parts of the mind, committing them to memory for future journeys, making it such a fascinating study.

 

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Mazes and Labyrinths

                                     

In the book ‘Mazes and Labyrinths: Their History and Developments’, author W.H. Matthews states that the difference between a maze and a labyrinth is “little or none. Some writers seem to prefer to apply the word “maze” to hedge-mazes only, using the word “labyrinth” to denote the structures described by the writes of antiquity, or as a general term for any confusing arrangements of paths. Others, again, show a tendency to restrict the application of the term “maze” to cases in which the idea of a puzzle is involved.” Both a maze and a labyrinth share the core element that of a complex path of some kind, but as Joshua J. Mark states, the word labyrinth comes from “the Greek labyrinthos and describes any maze-like structure with a single path through it which differentiates it from an actual maze which may have multiple paths intricately linked.”  The nuanced pathways that lie within both a maze and a labyrinth are so intricate and complex that they require commitment and intense concentration as it is almost like the act of completing one is like an act of self-discovery and can arguably unlock your mind, allowing individuals to remember either repressed or lost memories that were unknowingly buried deep in their unconscious mind. The design of these structures is something so architecturally stunning and to acquire that much detail to create such an immersive experience is truly mind-blowing and in some cases, transformative. The idea of a maze in terms of navigating the brain was first introduced to me in the movie ‘Inception’, and I found that such a powerful concept in relation to memory storage and travelling to different levels of the mind, travelling deeper into the subconscious, retrieving and recalling memories that had once simply slipped our minds or more importantly, chosen to forget. I agree with the words of Joshua J. Mark that the maze and labyrinth are the “journey of the self to wholeness” and that “it is in working one’s way through the labyrinth of one’s present circumstances that one comes to realize one’s purpose and a final meaning for existence.” This is expertly articulated further in Carl Jung’s work ‘Stages of Life’: “When we must deal with problems, we instinctively resist trying the way that leads through obscurity and darkness. We wish to hear only of unequivocal results, and completely forget that these results can only be brought about when we have ventured into and emerged again from the darkness. But to penetrate the darkness we must summon all the powers of enlightenment that consciousness can offer… The serious problems in life are never fully solved. If ever they should appear to be so it is a sure sign that something has been lost. The meaning and purpose of a problem seem to lie not in its solution but in our working at it incessantly. This alone preserves us from stultification and petrifaction.”