[-empyre-] Memory Errors in theTechnosphere:

Norie Neumark norie5 at mac.com
Sat Nov 17 10:34:27 EST 2007

HI John,
been offline for a few days...
On 14/11/2007, at 9:19 PM, John Hopkins wrote:

>> Performing mythos in real time... and inspired more by the fact of  
>> documentation than by the document itself?  I guess it's open for  
>> argument how the increasing ubiquity of the observing lens shapes  
>> our behavior.  The presence of a camera at a family holiday might  
>> create a frame of reference that connects the collective family  
>> experience to a particular kind of visual archive.  Or it could  
>> act like a superego, making sure that everyone is on record as  
>> enjoying themselves.  Not that these are the only possibilities,  
>> of course, but I wonder if these two functions are even separable,  
>> or to what extent?  At any rate, I think the (analog) 'camera- 
>> ready' events and memories created for a family holiday differ  
>> greatly from ephemeral (but potentially retainable) cellphone  
>> shots at a party or bar.  In the latter case, taking and viewing a  
>> photo marks the event's passage into the interpretive framework of  
>> dominant visual culture, but whether or not to 1) circulate an  
>> image beyond the immediate gathering or 2) save it as a 'document'  
>> would depend on other considerations....Maybe primarily social  
>> ones?  What else is going on in the cellphone camera case?
> One shouldn't forget that the camera is a mediatory and protective  
> device -- separating the photographer from the immediacy of the  
> surrounding energies.  There is a separation that occurs when the  
> camera is brought to eye (the act of creating external memory  
> removes the body from the direct impression of the surrounding  
> energies). And when the image is viewed.  The differences in the  
> analog and the digital are perhaps only in the temporal separation  
> between taking and viewing along with small syntactical differences  
> in the physical manifestation of the image-as-object.
> Again, to my other post today -- the affect of the making of images  
> (and the consequent observation  process) changes the event  
> observed. It is only a matter of degree what this affect is, but it  
> is usually immediate and very apparent.
> As for the artifact, it becomes cultural currency as long as it  
> survives in one archive or another through the life-energy input of  
> someone or another.  I have a small tintype photo album that I  
> picked up in a flea market in the US once.  I had no previous  
> connection with the individual who owned it originally.  But now  
> and again I look at the images.  This changes everything.
> The higher the technology (i.e., the larger the techno-social  
> infrastructure necessary to support a particular medium), the more  
> life-energy an individual must expend into that techno-social  
> system to maintain their participation in and use of that medium.   
> This is maybe the most profound affect of increasingly complex  
> technologies of documentation... that we are ever more deeply bound  
> to that techno-social system in the fact that we have to give more  
> of our life-time-energy into the system in order to participate...   
> We become hyper-socialized and lacking much autonomy.

this is all very interesting, because we've been trying to think  
about the role of media in our performative encounters. we've been  
thinking about how they enable sociability with strangers and how  
this works well with relatively low tech cameras and tape recorders  
because they are familiar. Your ideasa about the energy factor adds  
to that too -- they take less life-energy from us... more energy for  
play... but that's for another reply, to your other email..
> so it goes.
> John
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