User:ThomasW/Notes Mediated Memories in the Digital Age

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Van Dijck, José (2007) Mediated Memories in the Digital Age, United States of America, Stanford University Press

“American psychologist Susan Bluck contends that autobiographical memory has three main functions: to preserve a sense of being a coherent person over time, to strengthen social bonds by sharing personal memories, and to use past experiences to construct models to understand inner wolds of self and others.” Page 3

“Recording the event through video, pictures, or a written account enhances its actual experiences” page 5

“In general, personal norms–a tension we can trace in both the activity of remembering and in the object of memory” page 6

“Any picture–or, for that matter, any diary entry or video take even if ordained to end up in specific format, may materialize in an unintended or unforeseen arrangement” page 7

“On of Halbwachs important observations is that collective memory is never the plain sum of individual remembrances: every personal memory is cemented in an idiosyncratic perspective, but these perspectives never culminate into a singular collective view” page 9

“Mediated memories refers both to act of memory (construing a relational identity etched in dimensions of time) and to memory products (personal memory objects as sites where individual mends and collective cultures meets).” page 22

“personal memory is situated inside the brain–the deepest, most intimated physical space of the human body. On the other hand, personal memories seem to be located in the many objects [..] (like most of us) create to serve as reminders of lived experiences.” Page 28


“Bergsons view that memory I not exclusively a cognitive process but also a action–oriented response of a living subject to stimuli in his or her external environment prohibits the idea of a pure memory preceding its materialization in a mental image” page 30

“Walter Benjamin writing on reproducible memorabilia like personal photographs called them the “modern relics of nostalgia,” the meanings of which lies hidden in the layers of time affecting the appearances.” page 36

“photo chemicals and ink on paper tend to fade, and home videos lose quality as a result of frequent replays (and even if left unused, their quality deteriorates) In facts, it is exactly this material transformation–its decay or decomposing–that becomes part of a mutating memory’s: the growing imperfect state of these items connotes continuity between past and present.” page 37

“We take pictures on vacation for later remembrance but also to convince our friends at home of our relaxed and happy sojourning state;“page 39

“Similar to the myth of disembodiment, digitization often promotes the erroneous presumption of demineralization. In the first decade of a new millennium, our “technologies of self” are being rapidly replaced by digital instruments, and we ares still in the midst of finding out how to adapt to the cultural forms and practise that inevitable come along with this retooling of memory artefact.” page 46

“Machines and software formats may be become obsolete, hard drive and anything but robust, and digital files may start to degrade or become indecipherable. Ironically, problems of preservation and access to personal memories, as a result of their digital condition, could become become even more complex than before” page 48

“there is no single, uniform definition of what a diary is, and over the past centuries, its uniform definition of what a diary is and over the past centuries, its classification has been anything but homogeneous” page 57

“When Sigmund Freud wrote his essay “A Note Upon the Mystic Writing Pad, “in 1925, he regarded writing and technology as external aids or supplements to memory. Freud describe memory in terms of writing, comparing it to the surface of a writing pad that allowed the scribbling of endless notes that could subsequently be erased and yet remain stored in the subconscious layers of the pad, below its material surface.“ Page 64

Companies like Microsoft and Getty have anticipated the consequence of this evolution by buying up large stocks of public images, licensing their re-creations , and selling them back to the public domain. Form the culturally accepted modifiability of public images it is only a small step to considering you own personal images to be more stock in the ongoing remodelling project of life pictorial heritage. page 105

The endless potential of digital photography to manipulate ones self-image seems to render it the favourite tool for identity formation and personal memory construction. page 106

From the development of film rolls to the creation of digital picture management systems, that mythical space known as private life, captured on personal photographs, is pervaded by industrial services and products, not only ensuring continuous profits but also guaranteeing a firm grasp on their ideological framing. page 108

Kodak's Brownie, in 1901, popularized the camera with its slogan "You push the button, we do the rest," the company's newest camera, Easy Share, highlights its most promoted feature: a button to automatically e-mail a picture upon docking the camera, Instant sharing and self-service, rather than easy use and full services ("we do the rest"), appear the new selling points of digital pocket cameras. page 111

Even though photography may still capitalize on its primary function as a memory tool for documentation a persons past, we are witnessing a significant shift, especially among the younger generation, toward using it as an instrument for interaction and peer bonding. Digitization is not the cause of this trend; instead, the tendency to fuse photography with daily experiences and communication is part of a broader cultural transformation that involves individualization and intensification of experiences. page 115

photographs are no longer innocent personal keepsakes, but they are potential liabilities in someone personal life or professional career. page 117

I argue that the future of memory will be determined by our tool for reconstruction as much as by our imaginative capacities. page 124

Hartmut Winkler "Material storage devices are supposed to preserve their contents faithfully. Human memories on the other hand, tend to select reconfigure and forget their contents-and we know from theory that this is the real achievements of human memory. Forgetting, in that sense, is not a defect, but an absolute necessary form of protection. page 152


The Living Memory Box... LMB "The LMB still works from the assumption that essence they remain unchanged. Needless to say, the design caters to parents anxiety that they are not saving enough or are choosing the wrong memories, but the obsession with complete storage straggly distracts from the great potential of digital storage systems to exploit the inherently dual nature of human memory to both store and revise, to simultaneously save and delete, and to function both like an archive and like a story-generation machine. page 157

"MyLifeBits , he claims, is more then a memory, its “an accurate surrogate brain" the realization of Bush's memex machine, which equally featured automated retrieval as its hight ambition. page 160

"Following in Bush's footstep, the four contemporary projects of memory machines appear to be predicate on three recurring myths. First, the is the myth that autobiographical memories are indelibly and unerringly stored in the warehouse of the mind, which they can be retrieved in pristine condition. The second myth is that we have an innate desire to record every singel second and facet of our experience in our memory for later retrieval. And the third these projects seem to advance the illusion that memories, recorded and stored in digital databases can and should be kept separate from the rest of the connect wired world. page 162

"Another persistent tenet held by the creators of digital memory machines is the belief that people want to record every single second and facet of their life experiences for later retrieval. page 164

"In spite of current project designers projections, the ultimate goal of memory is not to end up as a Powerpoint presentation on your grandchild's desktop; the ultimate goal of memory is to make sense of ones life. page 169

"Memroy is no longer what we remember it to be, but then, memory probably never quite was how we remembered it and way never be what it is now. The present is the only prism we have to look thought to assess memory's past and future, and it is important we look through this contemporary prism from all the possible angels to appreciate memory's complexity and beauty. page 182