PFOM at Kiasma, Helsinki

Pockets Full of Memories
Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki
May 7 to August 1, 2004

Pockets Full of Memories (PFOM) will be on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki from May 7 to August 1, 2004. Curated by Perttu Rastas for Kiasma, PFOM was inaugurated at the Centre Pompidou, Paris in the summer of 2001 and has been exhibited at the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, 2003, Ars Electronica Festival, 2003, and the “Aura” exhibition, Budapest, 2003.

The installation invites audience participation by requesting the public to digitize and describe an object in their possession into a database which is visually projected in the gallery space and also featured on the internet. The collection of objects is continuously being organized by a vector quantization, self-organizing map algorithm that positions objects of similar descriptions near each other based on their semantic properties. The goal of the project is to visually map out the range of descriptions by which the public at each venue considers the objects they have at hand. The Kohonen algorithm used in this project has been described as an artificial neural-net based algorithm as it exhibits emergent behavior in its unsupervised learning processing, where local actions result in a global order over time.

The collection of contributions can be viewed online at where comments and messages can be added to any of the objects.

Additional information can be accessed at and a detailed description of the project at

Pockets Full of Memories Seminar
Museum of Contemporary Kiasma

In conjunction with the exhibition, a seminar was held on May 7, 2004 to discuss research perspectives related to Pockets Full of Memories. Participants included Perttu Rastas, Kiasma media curator; Philip Dean, Dean if the MediaLab Graduate program, University of Helsinki, who addressed perspectives on art and research; Professor George Legrady, University of California, Santa Barbara gave an overview of the installation; Finnish Academy of Science Professor Teuvo Kohonen discussed self-organizing maps; Professor Mauri Kaipainen, Medialab presented related projects from Medialab; Professor Timo Honkela, Helsinki University of Technology discussed self-organizing maps in natural language understanding.