Refuge In the Sky

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Can we create an experience that can impact people universally? Mason Studio explores the idea of shared experiences and the formation of long-term memories.

There are memories from our lived experiences that we can vividly recall and others that are fleeting moments in time. We are curious to understand the impact of our interior surroundings and how they may contribute to the lasting power of memories.
The idea of “peculiar” experiences is associated with the creation of long-term memories.

“The difficulty is how to best navigate the push and pull between novelty and familiarity. Novelty tells us what is important to remember. On the other hand, familiarity tells us what we can ignore but helps us retrieve the information later.
Too much novelty and you have no way to place it in your cognitive map, but too much familiarity and the information is similarly lost.”

In Refuge in the Sky, we take the universal experience of nature and put it into an unfamiliar and novel context – a seven-foot floating island of lush and living greenery within an industrial studio. Floating just above head height, viewers are confronted with the deep roots of the foliage, an unfamiliar perspective.

This contrast between our familiarity with nature and the unfamiliarity of the perspective is the novelty that we expect to create long-term memory formation.

*Ohio State University. (2017, June 19). Why the 'peculiar' stands out in our memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2022 from

Refuge In the Sky
Refuge In the Sky
Refuge In the Sky
Refuge In the Sky
Refuge In the Sky

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Photos: Scott Norsworthy