Svetlana Boym – a quote from The Future of Nostalgia

“The internet is organized in a radically spatial manner; it is datacentric and hypertextual, based on simultaneity, not on continuity. Issues of time, narrative and making meaning are much less relevant in the Internet model. Computer memory is independent of affect and the vicissitudes of time, politics and history; it has no patina of history, and everything has the same digital texture. On the blue screen two scenarios of memory are possible: a total recall of undigested information bytes or an equally total amnesia that could occur in a heartbeat with a sudden technical failure.”

Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia, (New York: Basic Books, 2001), 347

I have tried to write about the simultaneity of everything and the “end of history again” (another Varnelis notion) today but Boym covers it here so much better. We are at the same moment again as we were at the invention of the printing press and the change to oral culture. As we willingly digitize our lives and allow our lives to be digitized, information, and the past, is always present. In this video plugging his book Delete; The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age Victor Mayer-Shönberger argues that our ability to evolve is at risk if we do not remember how to forget.

I want to work these ideas up into a practice-based research proposal. I want the final output to be an exhibition and a web publication, but more so. It’s more than that; I really want to get a handle on the radical spatiality Boym writes about, both within the real and virtual spaces. Don’t know what I mean by this at the moment but it’s germinating. I don’t know of any artists working specifically in this area. If any reader knows of anyone please do comment.


About sophiebbarr

I am an artist and a teacher in higher education. For me art is a re-organisation of stuff that's already in the world.
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