DIGITAL MEMORY

MEDIATED MEORIES. JOSÉ VAND DIJCK

In her thought-provoking new book, José van Dijck has undertaken a formidable task. Unlike most theorists of memory, who work either with cognitive or with cultural models, she argues that to understand memory in the digital age requires an approach with draws from both neuroscientific and cultural research. In the first chapter she lays out her approach, which she distinguishes from Marita Sturken’s and my own; instead of considering the ways in which cultural memories affect the individual, Dijck’s analysis moves in the other direction “privileging private memory objects.” And while she admits, following Maurice Halbwachs, that “personal memory can only exist in relation to collective memory,” she insists on the primacy of the personal: “The sum of individual memories never equals collectivity” (25). For Dijck, memories might be technologically mediated, but are still profoundly personal. And yet, rather than assuming that something like “pure” or “authentic” memory exists and is then mediated by technologies of memory, she imagines a dialectical relationship where “media and memory transform each other” (21). And to get at this dynamic relationship she has coined the phrase “mediated memories,” which she defines as “the activities and objects we produce and appropriate by means of media technology for creating and re-creating a sense of past, present, and future of ourselves in relation to others” (21). While these memories are personal, they are nevertheless instrumental in translating ourselves to others. Dijck, in other words, is interested in the way in which autobiographical memory both shapes and is shaped by technology. In this book she attempts to reject a simple technological determinism, advocating instead a model which recognizes the interpenetration of cognitive structures and technological developments. (…)

https://mnenotech.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/presentation-mediated-memories-in-the-digital-age.pdf

 

DELETE. VIKTOR MAYER-SCHÖNBERGER

Delete looks at the surprising phenomenon of perfect remembering in the digital age, and reveals why we must reintroduce our capacity to forget. Digital technology empowers us as never before, yet it has unforeseen consequences as well. Potentially humiliating content on Facebook is enshrined in cyberspace for future employers to see. Google remembers everything we’ve searched for and when. The digital realm remembers what is sometimes better forgotten, and this has profound implications for us all.

In Delete, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger traces the important role that forgetting has played throughout human history, from the ability to make sound decisions unencumbered by the past to the possibility of second chances. The written word made it possible for humans to remember across generations and time, yet now digital technology and global networks are overriding our natural ability to forget–the past is ever present, ready to be called up at the click of a mouse. Mayer-Schönberger examines the technology that’s facilitating the end of forgetting–digitization, cheap storage and easy retrieval, global access, and increasingly powerful software–and describes the dangers of everlasting digital memory, whether it’s outdated information taken out of context or compromising photos the Web won’t let us forget. He explains why information privacy rights and other fixes can’t help us, and proposes an ingeniously simple solution–expiration dates on information–that may.

Delete is an eye-opening book that will help us remember how to forget in the digital age.

http://www.ics.uci.edu/~vid/Readings/Delete%20-%20Mayer-Schonberger,%20%20Ch.%201-2.pdf

LOS CONDENADOS DE LA PANTALLA. Hito Steyerl

Este libro recoge una serie de ensayos de la videoartista y crítica Hito Steyerl, publicados en la revista e-flux, en los que se da forma a una crítica de la creación audiovisual en nuestras sociedades hipermediatizadas. En tanto la mente, las emociones y la creatividad tomaron el lugar del cuerpo como las herramientas claves para la producción de valor, es necesario rastrear qué nuevas formas de alienación han surgido en este contexto y cuál es el destino de la práctica y la imaginación política cuando las utopías y deseos colectivos se han desplazado a las pantallas.

En la línea de su principal mentor, Harun Farocki, Steyerl se enfrenta al flujo de imágenes producidas por el capitalismo de la información (en especial a las imágenes-basura arrojadas en las playas de las economías digitales) a partir de un enfoque materialista, abordándolas no como representaciones sino como fragmentos del mundo, que participan de él creándolo, modificándolo y padeciendo sus leyes. Desde esta perspectiva, los formatos de baja resolución (AVI o JPEG) son interpretados como lumpenproletariados en la sociedad de clases de las apariencias, condenados por su resolución subestándar en lugar de valorados por transformar la calidad en accesibilidad; las fallas técnicas y glitches de las imágenes digitales son tratadas como heridas, huellas que testimonian la violenta dislocación que sufren al ingresar en el ciberespacio; y la imagen-spam, como una representación invisible ‒fabricada por máquinas, enviada por bots y capturada por filtros‒ que circula sin ser jamás vista por ningún ojo humano.

La obra de Hito Steyerl, parafraseando a Franco “Bifo” Berardi, funciona como una cartografía de la producción mediática en tiempos del semiocapitalismo, que describe con precisión cómo las imágenes son generadas, transportadas y consumidas hoy. Pero también como una cartografía de la sensibilidad emergente a partir de la cual imaginar hacia dónde debemos dirigirnos si queremos descubrir una nueva forma de actividad que ocupe el lugar del arte y la política. 

THE NEURO-IMAGE. PATRICIA PISTERS

Arguing that today’s viewers move through a character’s brain instead of looking through his or her eyes or mental landscape, this book approaches twenty-first-century globalized cinema through the concept of the «neuro-image.» Pisters explains why this concept has emerged now, and she elaborates its threefold nature through research from three domains—Deleuzian (schizoanalytic) philosophy, digital networked screen culture, and neuroscientific research. These domains return in the book’s tripartite structure. Part One, on the brain as «neuroscreen,» suggests rich connections between film theory, mental illness, and cognitive neuroscience. Part Two explores neuro-images from a philosophical perspective, paying close attention to their ontological, epistemological, and aesthetic dimensions. Political and ethical aspects of the neuro-image are discussed in Part Three. Topics covered along the way include the omnipresence of surveillance, the blurring of the false and the real and the affective powers of the neo-baroque, and the use of neuro-images in politics, historical memory, and war.

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.» (…)

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/jun/30/remember-delete-forget-digital-age