[-empyre-] Memory Errors
Madeleine Reich Casad
mir9 at cornell.edu
Sun Nov 18 15:58:13 EST 2007
On Nov 16, 2007, at 9:36 PM, norie neumark wrote:
>> D. also describes the (present) moment of archivization as a
>> virtual moment, a moment of play between the opposing desires to
>> simply repeat the archive, on the one hand, and to obliterate it
>> completely, on the other.
> Do you think the concept of performativity is relevant here? (yes,
> i'm obsessed) Archivizaton as performative might be somewhere
> between these opposing desires -- actualising a potential archive
> that is not just a repeated archive but not having to obliterate
> the existng archive to do so?
Yes, absolutely! But here too I think about power, the constraints
that make the performative 'readable' / meaningful / "felicitous" in
the first place, and what makes a particular performative act
desirable to us, why we gravitate to it, what kinds of vibrational
resonance (to continue the energy metaphor-or-is-it-) we seek out and
>> He connects this tension to the Freudian death drive, a kind of
>> energetic movement or vibration between two states of quiescence
>> or certainty. The self-preserving archive in that sense is
>> related to a subjectivity or identity that seeks to establish its
>> own self-unity by mastering or excluding its 'others' (ie a
>> subjectivity that desires certainty and quiescence).
>> This desire held in tension between endpoints is a common way of
>> talking about narrative pleasure or narrative engagement, too.
>> But that's obviously not the only way to think about the
>> performative aspect of media art, especially when you're dealing
>> with artforms that are nonlinearly or chaotically time-based,
>> interactive and emergent rather than pre-scripted, etc... I
>> suppose that's one of the things I meant by 'instantaneity and
>> ephemerality': that performative time, which isn't necessarily
>> oriented toward a definite end or projected future, but which
>> nonetheless might take on that orientation under certain
>> circumstances. For me the most interesting circumstances to think
>> about here are political ones, ones having to do with identity and
>> the power of "the archive" itself
>>> can you give us an example?
>> One example I'm closely involved with at the moment is Agnes
>> Hegedüs' Things Spoken,
>> which engages Archive Fever directly. It invokes and undercuts
>> various kinds of institutional authority (eg museum, national
>> treasury, the myth of coherent identity itself) and, I think,
>> likens narratives to virtual objects that act like nodes in a
>> network of subjectivities. And then the stories and objects have
>> their own webs of interaction and affiliation, which raises
>> questions about ownership and selfhood and construction of
>> identity within the broader network. To me the most interesting
>> thing is that the network is non-uniform: different stories seem
>> to be told in different ways; they perform different kinds of
>> interrelationships between people and institutions, between the
>> occasion of telling as virtual interactive moment (one that also
>> includes the user) and the act of telling as self-projection into
>> the future.
> this is a great example and now i see where you're going (or is it
> coming from?) in relation to the political and institutional
> authority. i think what you say about the network being non-uniform
> is really important... i sometimes wonder if that sense is lost in
> network fever, whereas face to face it can be clearer that
> different ( and the "same") stories perform different
>>> also i'm curious about how you find this works differently with
>>> new media and with literary artworks?
>> Writing is one of many technological systems we engage with, and
>> it imports its own particular material and structural and medial
>> characteristics and limitations to our interactions and our
>> imagination. I do think writing entails externalization, a bid
>> for duration, a projective relationship to time. And literary
>> prose has a distinct relationship to the symbolic, certainly--
>> writing is one of the most abstract communications media around.
>> But I think this grants it its own flexibility, too: by virtue of
>> being more abstract than other media forms, it's somehow more
>> plastic.... and by extension more open to an emergent virtual and
>> more responsive to changes in the cultural imaginary than it often
>> gets credit for.
>> I wouldn't really want to declare an absolute or binding
>> differentiation between media forms; I think they're all
>> responsive to each other, and that their interrelationship is
>> always in flux. But I also have the sense that the critical
>> practices associated with media art and literature don't always
>> overlap in ways that do justice to the artworks themselves, which
>> I think should be the primary goal of any critical engagement.
>> That said, literary theory has ways of talking about memory, loss,
>> and identity that are still quite useful, and new media have ways
>> of engaging the space and the moment of the virtual that are much
>> subtler and more complex than (for example) Derridean
>> deconstruction can easily recognize....
>> I like John's metaphor of amplifying wave interference patterns to
>> describe what we might make of this relationship, too.
> me too! though do you think he's presenting it as a metaphor? John?
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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