[-empyre-] November 2007 on -empyre- : Memory Errors in theTechnosphere: Art, Accident, Archive

monica notebook at justfornow.net
Tue Nov 20 00:42:58 EST 2007

Hello to everyone on the list,
this is Monica. first of all thank you to Renate and Tim for inviting 
me to take part in the discussion. i've been a little slow to join in 
due to my current recalcitrance about writing 'biography' and 
therefore in fulfilling Renate and Tim's completely reasonable 
request to provide one before joining the list. eventually i did 
manage a paragraph and Renate and Tim also sourced an existing 
version on the net.... (apologies and thanks here on both counts).

although reluctant to divert the ongoing discussion by introducing a 
further topic i thought i'd just mention this difficulty in "reading 
oneself (or anything else) backwards' - as Benjamin describes 
autobiography in One Way Street -in case its an issue anyone else 
would like to discuss in terms of the biographical entry and the 

There are two other related aspects - at least- of the discussion 
which i 'd like to pick up on:  the figure of the storyteller and 
processes of storytelling which Norie introduced in an early post - 
embodied, rather than representationally or technologically 
configured means of reproducing past experience or events in the 
present -  and suggestions that the internet is, or provides, a 
renewed space for "oral tradition".

'story telling', it seems to me might be said to have a similar 
relationship to the material archive as performance art does to some 
forms of its documentation, or the 'hearsay' of an event to its 
authorised evidence. what interests me about the paradigm of 
storytelling, in relation to the archive, is that its structures of 
re-making are less concerned with accurate replication / verification 
of an original 'something' than with transmitting the experience of 
that 'something' in the now in which the 'story' is told and 
encountered. If the archive can be thought of as a repository then 
perhaps the 'story ' is more like an ark with the ability to travel, 
and carry both teller, listeners and readers, into expanded 
experiences of time which do not collapse it into partisan 

What also interests me about the 'storytelling'  paradigm is the 
productive use of the absence or loss of the original that it makes 
in converting this lack of an object into a renewed space of 
production and reproduction, and a kind of  fearlessness about 
reproducing the past quite permissively. - additively/ 
contradictorily as it passes from one person and 'time' to another, 
prioritising communication over replication or concerns about 
authenticity or definitive representation. i.e. the way in which its 
forms allow for a repetitiveness that tends away from the constraints 
of duplication towards transformation.  

So i've also been interested in the parts of the discussion  which 
have touched on 'time' and the digital  as potentially  'timeless'. 
When i first started to try and write about the relation of embodied 
experience/ performance/ time-based works to either their aftermath 
as documentation or their correlation and prolongation in other 
media, i frequently used 'timelessness' to describe the 
non-chronological potential of the internet as archive. But what i'd 
like to propose now is that re-thinking this 'time' as being 
'untimely' rather than 'timeless', may be more productive.


Monica Ross
00 44 (0)1273 381480

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