Monday, July 7, 2003

On generating collective memory

Why share the preface to A Hundred Camels in the Courtyard (see below)?

Well, it's true that I just think the collection has a brilliant premise, and the stories are beautiful. But really what I'd like to see is it inspire some sort of collective digital equivalent.

I imagine all the people who pass through a public plaza, talking to each other and amongst themselves, bits and pieces of a thousand life stories uttered and forgotten. And I imagine being able to leave my own stories, and hear tales built from the many other fragments left behind. Individual memories would be used to create new collective fictions, and the past would leak into the future. The plaza would be a space of possibilities.

I imagine coders coming up with novel ways of combining these fragments, using Bowles' strategy for inspiration. I imagine whispered audio and glimpsed text messages. I imagine not merely collecting individual memories, but GENERATING COLLECTIVE MEMORY.

I dunno. That's as far as I've got. Someone else care to take it further?

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