Thursday, April 8, 2004

Random notes on remembering and forgetting

I just don't seem to have the time to work on my forgetting machine as much as I would like right now, so I keep filing away things I read about memory.

Matt Jones recently wrote about the role of the hippocampus in newly formed memories and how, after a period of time, memories seem to consolidate outside that part of the brain:

If our life recording devices are 'outboard-hippocampi' then perhaps balance and consolidation processes are the natural progressions.

But I'm having a hard time connecting this to my interest in how we remember - and in what forgetting has to do with remembering...

In Photographs and Memories, Douglas Rushkoff writes:

The cameraphone is terrific in that it gives us the ability to snag a photo whenever we want, even if we never carried a camera around, before. They certainly don't cost us anything in weight, and given how we already keep our phones in the most accessible pockets we've got, it costs us almost nothing in time to click off a few shots. And here we are passing digital photos around to one another like they were email signatures - moblogging them onto our websites or just passing our phones physically around our classrooms and workplaces to share the accident or sexy person we happened to capture.

But that's just the point: it's the photo we happened to capture. Instead of elevating the events in our lives to "memories," as we did in the Kodak era, we are simply grabbing some visual data points or a momentary sensation. The intentionality is gone. And unless the image is spectacular (not in execution, but in its content) we'll trash it without printing. Who can be bothered filing all those little jpegs?

There is much I want to say about this, but for now I am reminded of:

Henri Bergson's Matter and Memory

And Deleuze's Bergsonism, Cinema 1: The Movement-Image and Cinema 2: The Time-Image

See also:

Gilles Deleuze's Bergsonian Film Project by Donato Totaro

Images of Thought and Acts of Creation: Deleuze, Bergson, and the Question of Cinema by Amy Herzog

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