[-empyre-]: Memory Errors in the Technosphere: Art, Accident, Archive

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina gabyvargasc at prodigy.net.mx
Sun Nov 4 12:15:40 EST 2007

While I was a fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell Tim Murray
tried to show us some digital art that had been stored on CDs years ago.
The  pieces were absolutely crazy, moving at a speed that made it almost
impossible to understand what was going on.  Pieces that had been made for
the bandwith of a decade ago became these vertiginous moving things that
were difficult to discern and even more difficult to appreciate in their
artistic intention.  What does speed have to do to memory?  What does
technological change do to memory?  When Derrida wrote "Archive trouble" or
whatever his book about archive memory was called in English he did not
anticipate the matter and importance of speed, the way Paul Virilio did.  At
Tim's presentation I was startled and began to think about speed as an
important element of flux, Deleuze and Guattari's important category.  David
Harvey discussed the idea of 'time-space compression' as a key element of
recent human history (from the 16th century to our days).  I wonder what you
all think of speed as intrinsic to art, and of time as a key category
related to memory in our times?

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina
Autonomous University of Yucatan - Anthropology
Cornell University - Music

On 11/3/07 4:29 PM, "maria miranda" <maria at out-of-sync.com> wrote:

>   " The interruption of digital memory error accentuates what Thomas
> Hobbes lamented in a much earlier age of technological revolution as
> the fragility or "decaying sense" of memory."
> ... but  digital memory is not the only medium that errs. I'm
> reminded of a thought provoking work by the always entertaining MTAA
> called the Updates --http://turbulence.org/Works/1year/-- that
> appeared a few years ago -- it was a series of online performances
> where the Art duo remembered/remade seminal performance works from
> the 60s and 70s using digital forms and automating processes that had
> involved time and endurance.
> One Update worked with Sam Tehching Hsieh's Cage piece (http://
> www.one-year-performance.com/), where Tehching spent a year in a
> cage. MTAA transferred the task of doing time and enduring for one
> year to the viewer.  That is, they created a video as if documenting
> their time spent in solitary confinement, in a room --matching rooms
> in their case - that recreated Tehching's original cage, as if it was
> for a year.
> While MTAA work with the way that the digital archive can fake the
> present time and space, for me their work also throws light on the
> analogue archive, that is, the black and white photographs that
> documented the orginal piece - - and that shape our memories (proof)
> of the time and space that Tehching spent in his cell. As I watched
> this performance  online it had the weird effect of making me
> question the original piece by Sam Tehching Hsieh. Did he really
> remain in his cage for one year with nothing to read, listen to or
> even talk to!! How do we know? Photos of course. But may he not have
> slipped out occasionally for a quick bite and jog around the
> neighbourhood to clear his head or taken in a movie -- and slipped
> back into his cage in the morning?The only documentation of this
> original endurance piece is  the photos - grim black and white photos
> of Tehching in his cage. In understanding the artifice of the digital
> MTAA have thrown open the possibility for all media to be fakes and
> therefore all media memory to be fundamentally in error.
> best
> maria
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