Mnemosyne Research and Analysis on Scents

Mnemosyne was one of the Titans, daughter of Uranus and Gaea, and goddess of memory.

In ancient Greek Myth, Mnemosyne, the Mother of the Muses, is said to know everything, past, present and future. She is the Memory that is the basis of all life and creativity.

In Hesiod’s Theogony, the kings and poets were inspired by Mnemosyne and the Muses, thus getting their extraordinary abilities in speech and using powerful words.

The name Mnemosyne was also used for a river in the Underworld, Hades, which flowed parallel to the river of Lethe (which means forgetfulness). Usually, the souls of the dead would drink water from Lethe, so that they would forget their past lives when they would be reincarnated.

Research from here and here

Mnemonic Devices

The Method of Loci

The Method of Loci is a mnemonic device that dates back to Ancient Greek times, making it one of the oldest ways of memorizing we know of. Using the Method of Loci is easy. First, imagine a place with which you are familiar. For instance, if you use your house, the rooms in your house become the objects of information you need to memorize. Another example is to use the route to your work or school, with landmarks along the way becoming the information you need to memorize.

You go through a list of words or concepts needing memorization, and associate each word with one of your locations. You should go in order so that you will be able to retrieve all of the information in the future.


An acronym is a word formed from the first letters or groups of letters in a name or phrase. An acrostic is a series of lines from which particular letters (such as the first letters of all lines) from a word or phrase. These can be used as mnemonic devices by taking the first letters of words or names that need to be remembered and developing an acronym or acrostic.


A rhyme is a saying that has similar terminal sounds at the end of each line. Rhymes are easier to remember because they can be stored by acoustic encoding in our brains.

Rhymes are always read when we were kids so that we can remember basic terms, such as numbers, colours and music notes. One prime example would be the “Do-Re-Mi” nursery rhyme in The Sound of Music (0:50).

Chunking and Organization

Chunking is simply a way of breaking down larger pieces of information into smaller, organized “chunks” of more easily-managed information. For instance, telephone numbers in the United States are 10 digits broken into 3 chunks, allowing almost everyone to remember an entire phone number with ease. Singapore also does the same, where 8 numbers are broken into 2 chunks of 4.

Organizing information into either objective or subjective categories also helps. Objective organization is placing information into well-recognized, logical categories. Trees and grass are plants; a cricket is an insect.

Subjective organization is categorizing seemingly unrelated items in a way that helps you recall the items later. For example, relating how to drive a bike while you are going to learn about driving a car.

This can also be useful because it breaks down the amount of information to learn. If you can divide a list of items into a fewer number of categories, then all you have to remember is the categories (fewer items), which will serve as memory cues in the future.


Visual imagery is a great way to help memorize items for some people. For instance, it’s often used to memorize pairs of words (green grass, yellow sun, blue water, etc.). The Method of Loci, mentioned above, is a form of using imagery for memorization. By recalling specific imagery, it can help us recall information we associated with that imagery.

Research from here

Pleasant Scent – baby powder

I chose baby powder as my pleasant scent because it reminded me of my childhood days and how my parents embrace would have this powdery scent after they help me apply it on my body. The scent evokes comfort and calmness within me while i think of the tenderness of my parents when i was younger an it never fails to make me smile in nostalgia.

The image that i gathered from this scent would be something very big, soft and fluffy, maybe even squishy. Just something that is very comfortable to the touch and engulfs me.

Unpleasant Scent – Medical Inhaler

I chose a medical inhaler as my unpleasant scent because it evokes very scary memories of the times when i would get an attack and be unable to breathe. The physical and mental image of it would send shivers up my spine and make me not want to experience that feeling again. Although the inhaler is the instrument that brought me relief, I would only use it during those dire times. Looking at it now, I am always reminded of the medical rooms and the times when i had to desperately receive treatment from it to clear my airway.

The image gathered from this unpleasant scent is something that is very tightly constrained together, like when a snake suffocates its prey before eating them.


Recycled Plastic Art

Aurora Robson
The Great Indoors
18 September – 26 October 2008

Recycled plastic art, as the name suggests, refer to the making of artworks using discarded plastic. The act of recycling plastic has been ongoing in different industries, homes and communities, to turn discarded plastic into objects as plastic is not biodegradable. However, recycled plastic art takes an artistic turn to the action of recycling plastic. In recent years there has been a growing number of artists using plastic waste to not only create art, but more significantly, to create awareness of the importance of plastic recycling. Recycled plastic art comes in many forms, such as paintings and sculptures.

One example of an artist that uses recycled plastics in his paintings is South African artist Mbongeni Buthelezi. He is known for transforming everyday, unassuming plastic waste into sought-after works of art. First he heats pieces of plastic with a heat gun, then applies the melted form onto a black plastic background that doubles as a canvas. By layering and positioning bits of recycled plastic, Buthelezi is able to create incredible portraits and mosaics that remarkably resemble oil paintings.

Sculptures made from recycled plastic can bring both aesthetic beauty and social awareness about how our usage of plastics have degraded the environment.

In UK, a mammoth installation in Bristol features life-sized whales, made from willow, swimming in a ‘sea’. This sea is made up of 70,000 recycled plastic bottles, used earlier in the year during the Bristol 10k run and Bath half marathon.

The sea of recycled plastic PET bottles symbolises the detrimental effects of plastic pollution on the ocean, including killing marine life, poisoning the food chain, and smothering the sea bed. The aim of the installation is to encourage the public to reduce consumption of single use plastics and to recycle, where possible.

Research from here