The Self Memory System (Conway& Pleydell-Pearce, 2000) and its modification (Conway et al., 2004) propose a construct of the self as being composed out of memories. The conceptual self consists, then, of abstracted knowledge about the self, contextualized in terms of a person’s life by autobiographical knowledge and ultimately grounded in episodic memories of specific experiences (Conwayet al., 2004).

The proposed project utilizes this theory to conceptualize an art installation that provides a space for New Yorkers to collectively remember and process the moment of crisis caused by COVID-19. Through sharing memories of both dear times in New York, as well as memories from the crisis, a representation of New York’s identity will be built which integrates both positive and negative times. Through this process, the project integrates a large research study about collective memories and traumatic experiences of New Yorkers, as well as a positive transformation of these into a public visual installation, which supports collective remembering and coping.

It therefore is one of the first proposed mental health interventions that brings together design research, academic research in psychology that manifests in an art-like form and addresses the population of an entire city, and also functions as a memorial for a tragedy.