[-empyre-] return of the same

Andrew Burrell andrew at miscellanea.com
Thu Nov 22 13:11:35 EST 2007


hi monica and all,

your post has led me down a tangental path - thinking about actual  
implementation and construction of the archive in the 'technosphere'.  
the sql database being one way that archives are created, stored and  
accessed. recent projects have led me into the particularly dry world  
of 'database normalization' which (to the - self taught through  
necessity -artist) is a set of rules that create an easily navigable  
(and sensibly spatial) data set. allowing for the practical difference  
in storage media (the physical mind of the pre paper rhetorician and  
the memory of a computer server)  it is amazing how similar the rules  
for the creation of an artificial memory read in the classical  
rhetoric guides and (let's say) the "visual quickpro guide to PHP and  
MYSQL". (and this is even after one gets past the initial, and i think  
poetically satisfying link, in that both discussions revolve around  
columns.)

anyway i just wanted to flag this, and then ask,  do other people,  
when working with databases 'see' or perceive the data they are  
working with as existing within a spatial construction (or more  
poetically, a navigable external memory-scapes)?


cheers
andrew


andrew  burrell
http://www.miscellanea.com







On 21/11/2007, at 2:10 PM, monica wrote:

>> Andrew wrote:
>
> ...as if the makers of this game were doing their own experiments in  
> the
> Art of Memory, music plays from a playlist and is not site specific so
> it can never be tied to a memory in space. in opposition to many of
> the other successful mmorpg 'eve online' seems to break every rule of
> the classical Art, and as a consequence i have found that memories are
> NOT encoded in its persistent world and that this game cannot act as
> an environment of 'externalised'  or 'artificial' memory - perhaps its
> persistence breaks down through sameness...
>
> for me, your drawing out of 'persistence' and 'sameness' here, focus  
> on a key conflict between the urge to preserve and replicate  
> something as unchanged and unchangeable (timeless) and the urge to  
> enable the archival transmissibility which Tim refers to. Simon's  
> question "when to let go" doesn't seem to me that far from Tim's  
> committment to transmissibility, because committing to  
> transmissibility has to require some 'letting go' of what was  
> originally /held over or occurred if it is going to be enabled to  
> continue to 'pass' into communication, rather than recede into  
> oblivion.
>
> helen's mail:
> Time and time again we see artists doing -- and being praised as  
> innovators for -- work that was done by others years and years ago.
>
> makes me think of benjamin's identification of the tyranny of the  
> endless 'return of the same' in one form or another, the same 'new'  
> again, and how this blocks 'transmissibility',inducing  
> 'forgetfulnesses' that maintain the persistence of a status quo.
>
> i don't know if any art can be said to be dead, this is one of the  
> key and unresolved questions benjamin raises in " the work of art"  
> essay about the relationship of art to technology: whether that  
> relation can produce transmissibility (life/ ongoingness) or  
> replication (death/the same over and over again). but i'm glad that  
> mourning has come up because this is also about a process of coming  
> to terms with change rather than a desire for the past to be  
> maintained unchanged (nostalgia).
>
> it's 3am here now... so... Norie thank you for your posts and i'll  
> respond to them as soon as i can tomorrow, would also be interesting  
> to talk more about the 'spatiality of memory' and its  
> externalisation as raised by Andrew's mail....
> monica
>
>
>> hi mickey and all,
>>
>> avatar nostalgia is built right into games such as World of Warcraft,
>> and i think the clever (and intentional) manipulation of a players
>> sense of nostalgia for their own in game experiences (mediated  
>> through
>> their avatar and user interface) is one of the reasons for the  
>> success
>> of these games. in many ways WoW is a well structured mnemonic
>> environment firmly situated in  the the lineage of the classical Art
>> of Memory (as outlined in the rhetorical guides of Cicero, Quintilian
>> et.al. and 'externalised' by Camillo in his theatre of memory).
>>
>> WoW follows all of the rules for creating an 'artificial' environment
>> upon which one can construct - as an active rather than passive
>> memorisation - an external and navigable system of memory. every
>> 'region' in the game is distinguishable visibly and aurally from one
>> another. there are well defined paths that move from major site to
>> major site (each distinctive in its own way) and a separate piece of
>> music plays in, and represents each, definable area. memories of not
>> only in game experience but also 'real life' experience (as in
>> emotions or experiences or mind-space etc. that a player comes to the
>> game with) are then encoded into areas of the games mnemonic  
>> landscape
>> that are then triggered, as one revisits these sites at a later time.
>>
>> in order to test this theory i have recently been playing a mmorpg
>> called 'eve online'. the avatar in this game is a faceless spaceship
>> and the navigable landscape is the vastness of the universe which is
>> astoundingly homogenous and despite the game boasting a universe of
>> thousands of star systems to explore, the only real difference
>> (besides are nebular here, a gas cloud  there) is the narrative that
>> is created through interacting with npc's and  other 'real life'
>> players - but i find that this narrative seems to float, aimlessly
>> unattached to anything 'physical', until it becomes irretrievable.  
>> and
>> as if the makers of this game were doing their own experiments in the
>> Art of Memory, music plays from a playlist and is not site specific  
>> so
>> it can never be tied to a memory in space. in opposition to many of
>> the other successful mmorpg 'eve online' seems to break every rule of
>> the classical Art, and as a consequence i have found that memories  
>> are
>> NOT encoded in its persistent world and that this game cannot act as
>> an environment of 'externalised'  or 'artificial' memory - perhaps  
>> its
>> persistence breaks down through sameness...
>>
>> a similar thing could be said of second life. while i have spent many
>> many hours building, creating and exploring SL, i find it very
>> difficult to maintain a personal history within the SL world itself.
>> not only does much of its vast expanse look incredible similar, it is
>> also constantly changing, visual landmarks come and go and navigation
>> becomes a matter of 'teleporting' from bookmark (co-ordinate based
>> landmark) to bookmark. AND this brings me back to the archive and
>> documentation. to overcome the constantly shifting and impermanent
>> nature of SL many people have began to create blogs, photo albums or
>> other such archives of their experiences in SL in order to create
>> their own personally defined and navigable
>> memory-scapes/theatres/palaces/artifices..... remind anyone of 'real
>> life'?
>>
>>
>> cheers
>> andrew
>>
>> ps: the use of the phrase 'real life' should be read as being of
>> linguistic convenience and it is the antithesis of my views to  
>> suggest
>> that there is any construction or experience other than 'real life'.
>>
>> andrew burrell
>> http://www.miscellanea.com
>>
>>
>> On Nov 17, 2007 3:47 AM, Madeleine Reich Casad <mir9 at cornell.edu>  
>> wrote:
>>> Hi Andrew,
>>>
>>> You wrote this a while ago, now, and I tried to ask earlier but  
>>> think
>>> the message never went through:
>>>
>>> Do you experience something like avatar nostalgia?
>>>
>>> I'm wondering to what extent we can think of the game environment
>>> itself as 'externalized memory'.
>>>
>>> Mickey
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Nov 8, 2007, at 6:19 PM, andrew burrell wrote:
>>>
>>> > . i also have strong memories of places,
>>> > encounters and discoveries in azeroth (memory mediated by  
>>> mmorpg), and
>>> > while i have spent much time trying to discern if a memory of a  
>>> place
>>> > in 'world of warcraft' is (on a personal level) any different  
>>> from a
>>> > memory i have of a place i went on holiday in 1995 (for  
>>> example), i
>>> > keep coming back to the same conclusion, that a memory is a  
>>> memory and
>>> > no matter how one is formed the ultimate mediator will be an
>>> > individuals 'perceptive filtering' and the circumstances and  
>>> triggers
>>> > for recall.
>>> >
>>> > andrew burrell
>>> > http://www.miscellanea.com
>>>
>>> > _______________________________________________
>>> > empyre forum
>>> > empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>>> > http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre forum
>>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> andrew burrell
>> http://www.miscellanea.com
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>
>
> -- 
> Monica Ross
> 07940143126
> 00 44 (0)1273 381480
> www.justfornow.net
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre



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