[-empyre-]forward from Maria on forgetting, oblivion

Timothy Murray tcm1 at cornell.edu
Thu Nov 8 12:40:29 EST 2007

Apologies, the system keeps kicking Maria's post into holding pattern 
because it "has a suspicious header"!!!  She's tried to send it twice 
and we tried a bit ago, so now we're just forwarding it ourselves. 
We're very excited by how the week is going, and apologize for our 
silence up to now caused by our involvement in yesterday's US 

Renate and Tim

So here's Maria, under cover this time:

I occasionally threaten my students that I will require one bit of 
work -- that they memorize the contents of their mobile phones...

Interesting point re the specifics of the digital archives. Have you 
actually done this? or just threatened. and if so, is it then 
performed aloud or written down? --

externalization of memory -- essentially a process of putting organic 
memory into a very rigid framework of reduced impression.  That 
framework is generated by the techno-social system which consequently 
filters the memory into what vessels that techno-social system values.

Besides your concern -- about techno-social system and techno-social 
system values -- there's also the too too much/too too gone factor.

what i mean is that there seems to be two opposing movements that one 
has to consider when thinking about the digital and the archive. One 
is the excess and vast accumulations on the Internet with social 
sites like YouTube and Flickr that Christian mentioned in an earlier 
post --

"Youtube's method of epiphenomena means that nothing can be famous 
twice, merely recatagorised
as Top Rated.

Auge's refrains in Oblivion are poetic recursives of the damage done to
memory when everything is archived."

The opposite movement is the fairly rapid decay of these digital 
archives as technology shifts and discards older forms of hardware 
and software, thus making it difficult or impossible to access olde 
files -- old being  5 years old.

For instance, my personal digital archive resides in the hall closet. 
Boxes of zips and floppy disks (useless for current laptops) and a 
Mac G3 from circa 1999 - preIntel. It's large and beige with no 
monitor. which means it's like a blind box. I had to give away the 
monitor because of lack of space in my flat to store it... the old 
monitor being a CRT (VGA) screen was a huge great monster and heavy 
too. I haven't looked at this old Mac for quite some time - years - 
so not even sure if it will still work. It's a bit like Bluebeard 
keeping the bodies in the attic -- dead as a door nail. maybe I 
should just throw it out and be done with it.


A thought voice-spoken into the ear is released only for a moment 
from embodied presence as the sonic energy passes from the Self to 
the Other.  In the Other it manifests for ever as a changed energy 
state of be-ing.


>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au

Timothy Murray
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Director of Graduate Studies in Film and Video Studies
Curator, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library
285 Goldwin Smith Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853

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