Memories of Sand: Digital art, cyberculture
This presentation discusses the meanings of memory in contemporary culture. Few words have become as commonplace as “memory”. Memory, which until recently has been limited to historiographical, neurological and psychoanalytical fields of study, has now become a primary aspect of the everyday life. After all, memory is a sort of quantifiable datum nowadays, a measurement and even an indicator of one’s social status. A fetish has been made of “memory” as a “thing”: _ How much memory does your computer have? _What about your camera? _And your mobile? _All that?! _ Only that?… Memories are bought, memories are transferred, and memories are erased and lost. Paradoxically, the over-use in discourse is equivalent to a methodological emptiness when it comes to cultural products created with the different media related to these memories: digital media. In this context, we should ask: How to preserve the memory of cultural devices that resist objectification, which often exist only contextually – such as net art – and whose processing includes its erasure? How to deal with such unstable memories, which last the same as the service life of the equipment and whose typology does not correspond to current models of cataloguing museum and archives collections? How is it possible, nowadays, not to think of cultural memory as both an economic issue and a service that should call for some sort of ethical code? After all, personal memories are increasingly mediated by corporations – which appear as big data repositories – through services that are interrupted as soon as they are no longer considered an interesting niche market. In order to avoid giving in to a catastrophist hypothesis, I propose a reflection upon the new meanings of memory and memorization technologies.