What brings about a feeling of homeliness and belonging? Is it the structure of the house itself? Or is it a combination of spatial elements and objects, along with the traces of their associated memories, that exist within? Simulacra of Self is a study that looks beyond the aesthetic value of objects and explores how they become inducers of memory, representations of home and self-identity, and most significantly, their role in caring for a person living with Alzheimer’s disease in the care home environment.
Identifying one’s most cherished possessions prior to any decline in memory and cognition can ensure that the right objects accompany a person in to a care home and are used in reminiscence therapy and as conversation starters. Through my research I conclude that objects can be considered simulacra of self, and through conducting and analysing interviews, I have been able to identify which self — past, present and future — they come to represent and memorialise.
To accompany my thesis, I put together six books – one for each of my research participants – documenting the objects they chose, and the associated memories.
Please select one of the images above to learn about each owner’s most precious memories.