Leigh Davis

As humans, we attempt to predict the future by manipulating memories of the past. Scientific studies have modeled how our brains produce simulations of future events by drawing on personal memories, stories told by families and friends, and pop culture. This function of our imagination can help us cultivate excitement for events or allow us to problem-solve potentially stressful situations. But can we use it to predict what’s on the other side of this life?

I am an interdisciplinary artist and educator exploring how universal experiences of grief, memory, and storytelling help define what it means to be human. After an unusual and profound experience in 2013, I began building a body of work exploring end-of-life experiences. While working on this body of work, I met P.M.H. Atwater, a researcher of near-death phenomena (who has died and come back to life three times). Using the outline of her book Future Memory, I began conceiving Feeling Tones, a project and archive that is unfolding over time into a multi-layered media installation (2024). This project explores how we construct our beliefs about human consciousness and a possible afterlife, with a particular focus on how abstraction, imagery, and non-linear narrative help us process discomfort and imagine decisions based on assumptions about our lives and deaths. In the afterlife, it may be possible for us to relive our experiences, with memories reshuffled into a new order. Editing various media components to work similarly, as a non-linear process where moments that share a quality are grouped, or where pieces are created to produce novel simulations, my recent work explores how individuals perceive experiences of transience differently, how we document, create memories, and locate where we are in our body, and where we dream of going.

Credit: Feeling Tones // Workshops 2022 -, recent collection of short video works. As a kind of prompt or program, the videos play with user-experience as a model to communicate and transfer visceral, instinctual, and sensory knowledge.