«Funes the Memorious is as Borgesian a character as they come, a man tormented by his hyperencylopedic mind, tragically unable to forget anything. “I alone have more memories than all mankind has probably had since the world has been the world,” Funes laments. Seemingly fulfilling the most hubristic of human ambitions—to remember/know everything—he is incapacitated by the compulsive absoluteness of his knowledge, unable to think and communicate with the rest of the humanity. Casting himself as the imperfect, inferior countercharacter to Funes, Borges suggests that forgetting—that is, forgetting ceaselessly—is essential and necessary for thought and language and literature, for simply being a human being.»

Aleksandar Hemon

Hyperthymesia is the condition of possessing an extremely detailed autobiographical memory. Hyperthymesiacs remember an abnormally vast number of their life experiences.

Elizabeth Parker, Larry Cahill, and James McGaugh (2006) identified two defining characteristics of hyperthymesia: Spending an excessive amount of time thinking about one’s past, and displaying an extraordinary ability to recall specific events from one’s past.[1]

The word hyperthymesia derives from Ancient Greek: hyper- («excessive») and thymesis («remembering»). Hyperthymesia is also known as hyperthymestic syndrome[1] and highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM)

Individuals with hyperthymesia can recall almost every day of their lives in near perfect detail, as well as public events that hold some personal significance to them. Those affected describe their memories as uncontrollable associations, when they encounter a date, they «see» a vivid depiction of that day in their heads.[3] Recollection occurs without hesitation or conscious effort.

It is important to draw a distinction between those with hyperthymesia and those with other forms of exceptional memory, who generally use mnemonic or similar rehearsal strategies to memorize long strings of subjective information. Memories recalled by hyperthymestic individuals tend to be personal, autobiographical accounts of both significant and mundane events in their lives. This extensive and highly unusual memory does not derive from the use of mnemonic strategies; it is encoded involuntarily and retrieved automatically.[4] Despite being able to remember the day of the week on which a particular date fell, hyperthymestics are not calendrical calculators like some people with autism or savant syndrome. Rather, hyperthymestic recall tends to be constrained to a person’s lifetime and is believed to be an unconscious process. (…)


Why we must remember to delete – and forget – in the digital age

Human knowledge is based on memory. But does the digital age force us to remember too much? Viktor Mayer-Schönberger argues that we must delete and let go

(…) The dream of overcoming human memory’s fallibility was expressed by HG Wells when, in the 1930s, he wrote of a «world brain» through which «the whole human memory can be . . . made accessible to every individual». Today, perhaps we have that world brain, and it is called Google. Mayer-Schönberger sounds an Orwellian note about this: «Quite literally, Google knows more about us than we can remember ourselves.»

His point is that a comprehensive memory is as much a curse as a boon. He cites the case of a 41-year-old Californian woman called AJ who, since she was 11, has remembered the events of her every day in agonising detail – what she had for breakfast three decades ago, what happened in each episode of every TV show she watched. That inability to forget, Mayer-Schönberger argues, limits one’s decision-making ability and ability to form close links with people who remember less. «The effect may be stronger when caused by more comprehensive and easily accessible external digital memory. Too perfect a recall, even when it is benignly intended to aid our decision-making, may prompt us to become caught up in our memories, unable to leave our past behind.» (…)


Artificial Neural Network

Neural networks have been used with computers since the 1950s. Through the years, many different models have been presented. The perceptron is one of the earliest neural networks. It was an attempt to understand human memory, learning and cognitive processes. To construct a computer capable of «human-like thought», the researchers have used the only working model they have available – the human brain. However, the human brain as a whole is far too complex to model. Rather, the individual cells that make up the human brain are studied. Following is introduced the schema of the most used artificial neural network.

Multilayer Perceptron

For the task of predicting the indexes, we’ll be using the so called multilayer feed forward network which is the best choice for this type of application. In a feed forward neural network, neurons are only connected forward. Each layer of the neural network contains connections to the next layer, but there are no connections back. Typically, the network consists of a set of sensory units (source nodes) that constitute the input layer, one or more hidden layers of computation nodes, and an output layer of computation nodes. In its common use, most neural networks will have one hidden layer, and it’s very rare for a neural network to have more than two hidden layers. The input signal propagates through the network in a forward direction, on a layer by layer basis. These neural networks are commonly referred as multilayer perceptrons (MLPs). Shown below is a simple MLP with 4 inputs, 1 output, and 1 hidden layer.



Nowdays we have devices of «digital memory» (Clipnarrative, Mecam…etc) that offer us the possibility of storage our daily live for an affordable price and little effort.

I´m really interesting in all the questions that this fact open about a possible future where we can rewind our memory everytime we need and the consequences of  this permanent digital memory. We know that the act of remembering is as important as the act of forgetting (We need both in order to have a healthy mind). But beyond this questions I want to use this devices in order to experiment with multiperspective narrative, memory narrative and digital visualization of forgetting.

I´ve been thinking about create the following exercise (this is an idea in development).

1. Four people are asked to use for one day this tiny camera.

2. These four people have to be a group (friends, family etc) who are going to be part or attend to the same event that day.

3. The event should be a meaningful event for that group. Of course the most interesting the event and the group of people are the more interesting will be the exercise. So this is a very important point, but I need time to think and research about it. 

4. Days after the event they will be asked about what they remember about that day (They will be asked to try to remember everything hour per hour).Their memories will be recorded.

5. The memories of each person will be check with the image they recorded.

6. The image will be distort through a process called «Databending» creating an effect called «Wordpad Effect». This software disrupt, intentionally, the information contained within a file. The level of distorsion in the image will be directly proportional to the level of forgetting in their memories. So if certain moment is remebered by the person very well the image will be very clear without «Wordpad effect». In the case a moment is forgotten the image will be highly distorsionated by this effect.

7. I will try to recreate that day an their experience mixing togueter all their memories within an Spatial Montage, where we can see and hear different interpretations of the same day and verify their memories. I think I can create an interesting exercise with all these elements but I have to think more about it. So…

To be continued…