[-empyre-] time travel, speed, the archive

Timothy Murray tcm1 at cornell.edu
Fri Nov 9 17:06:13 EST 2007

>	Sorry, all that I'm going a bit back in time.  I meant to 
>mention, in dialogue with Maria's mention of Suzie Treister that 
>Renate and I had hoped to have her as a guest this month but it 
>didn't work out with her schedule.   Hopefully sometime soon.  One 
>of the elements in her particularly her fascinating 
>CD-Rom/net/performance, Time Travelling with Rosalind Brodsky 
>(http://www.ensemble.va.com.au/tableau/suzy/index.html), is indeed 
>her incorporation of time travelling into the life her character 
>Rosalind who archives her interactions with her shrinks, Freud, 
>Jung, Klein,  Lacan, Kristeva.  Time travel is activated in this 
>fascinating fiction not simply as a technological (and military) 
>fantasy but also as a fundamental element of fantasy itself.
	Whereas Virilio laments the degradations of speed (and also 
links speed to militarization), as Gaby so helpfully mentions, 
Rosalind's shrinks would probably cite speed itself as a kind of time 
machine through which psychic life imprints itself, however briefly 
and quickly, on what Freud called the preconscious connections of 
text and image.  It is precisely as an archive of the subconscious 
that Freud and his followers have understood the machinations of 
consciousness as it both resists, undermines, and carries on the 
traces and shadows of desire and other unconscious formations. 
Indeed, the precariousness of the psychic archive is what prompted 
Derrida to write his insightful book, Archive Fever.
	What's poignant today is how digital technologies stand forth 
as something of materialized testimonies of the fragility and 
continual revision of archival material.  While Renate and I have 
focused on "memory error" as that strange convention through which 
the computational machine denotes its own limitations, the archive 
itself is conjoined with accident, as precisely that moment of 
electric touch, terminal contact, and nodal connection though which 
links speak anew to themselves, often precisely at the moment of 
their own ontological and/or accidental passings.  These are the 
tenuous fludities that Renate and I have frequently discussed as 
constitutive of the digital condition.  But rather than lament Memor 
Error, we have been provided with many examples in this week's posts 
of why it merits artistic and critical celebration.

Thanks so much for such a stimulating start to the month.

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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