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Nomadic Memory, Rims of Place

What would it be like to think language and place in the same breath? To discover place by creating it through the pleasure of words. Or to lose place, suffering dislocation as one loses language. Then, finding one’s way through language, a sustenance scarcely to be believed.

Losing place. One speaks of losing one’s place in a book, missing a line, missing a beat while reading. But place? How might it be possible to lose that?

As a child, moving from one country to the other and back again, across the dark stretch of the Indian Ocean, I often felt I had lost place. A …

Disorientation and the Brain: A Response to Nomadic Memory

The topography of the world is mapped onto the brain in overlapping sense-specific fields of information. Some senses, particularly sight and touch, are represented by several maps, each with a slightly different emphasis and a slightly different location within the brain. In the case of vision, for example, there are at least five major map-systems, some devoted to object shape, others to color or object movement, still others to facial features and the imperatives of memory (7). …

Ad Gabriele Leidloff: Video of a Moving Visual Object

The flood of images we are so used to is so overwhelming that often only stills, “situative processes of ‘frozen’ movements,” can help us to recover its elements. How does the brain deal with all this visual hyper-information? One way, of course, is not to look.

Gabriele Leidloff
Moving Visual Object
1997
video stills…

Cut Short

Philosopher/writers have often pointed out metaphors that insist on a linear view of life (i.e., “the seven ages of man”), while others are grounded in cycles (i.e., “from dust to dust”). But what if you can’t experience ‘progress’ in daily life or any of the norms of sequential reasoning because you have suffered brain damage affecting the regions responsible for memory? This deficit might well be visualized as a filmic series of re-runs and short cuts. …

From the Externalization of the Psyche to the Implantation of Technology

1.

In 1877 Sir Francis Galton, a statistician and a cousin of Charles Darwin, a founder of eugenics (a project of social betterment through planned breeding), and the author of highly influential psychological texts, pioneered a procedure of making composite photographs which proliferated widely in the next three decades.[1] Fabricated by a process of successive registration and exposure of portraits onto a single plate, Galton’s composites were thought to constitute true statistic averages, representing human types — a criminal, a prostitute, an Englishman, a Jew, and others. Galton wrote about his composite pictures that they are “much more than averages; they are rather the equivalents …

The Task of the Digital Translator

What I want to look into in this essay is intermodal translation, and what happens when it is undertaken by computers. Digital translation software allows us to “translate” from any medium to any other by inserting parameters to which we’d like variables in each medium to correspond. For example, optical character recognition programs learn to translate shapes (of typed letters) into signs (for letters of the alphabet). In most applications of digital translation, the program seeks a maximum degree of transparency between the two media; that is, the human-computer interface tries to recreate analog experience in all of its original richness without adding any additional …

Interview with Joseph Nechvatal

Martha Trivizas: What do you think of the writing trend in which the assumption is that technology is inseparable from us as human beings?

Joseph Nechvatel: I think the assumption is accurate if you think of technology as culture. Then it is self-evident. If the creation of papyrus by the Egyptians was a technological achievement, then writing developed out of technology. So maybe it’s not such a big problem if you just don’t get hung up on the association with new technology. Notwithstanding, I would say that technology is integral to us. I would accept that assumption.…

BLOW UP: Photography, Cinema and the Brain

‘I am proposing the notion that we are here in the presence of something like a mutation in built space itself. My implication is that we ourselves, the human subjects who happen into this new space, have not kept pace with that evolution: there has been a mutation in the object unaccompanied as yet by any equivalent mutation in the subject. We do not yet possess the perceptual equipment to match this new hyperspace, as I will call it, in part because our perceptual habits were formed in that older kind of space I have called the space of high modernism-The newer architecture therefore-like other …

Does One Film to Forget?

Does one film to forget? Or is a film made to create an archive, a catalogue of souvenirs? What is the relationship between cinema and memory? When I think about cinema, I am referring mainly to experimental cinema, video, and film by visual artists. There are various connections between memory and cinema. Is memory already constituted or does it constitute itself through the use of or with images? It is common knowledge that memory does not refer or limit itself to images; rather, it convokes and exerts itself in accordance with all of our senses. In this article, however, I will limit myself to the …

Antonioni’s Blow Up And The Chiasmus Of Memory

The conventional wisdom on Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up is that it questions the possibility of perceiving “reality” non-reflectively; that active signification, semiotic interpretation and conceptual meaning-production necessarily interject between the perceiving subject and the perceived object.  By this reading, the true meaning of the events in the park in Blow-Up can only be brought to light through the mediating function of Thomas’s (David Hemmings) photographs, and their reconstitution in the form of a semiotic narrative.  …

Five Propositions on the Brain

Many people have a tree growing in their head, but the brain itself is much more a grass than a tree”—Gilles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus

First Proposition: Philosophy and science share a brain

The encounter between philosophy and science constitutes an event of a special kind, since the event as such envelops both in a mutual form of thinking—of thinking through the other. We know all too well the vulgar forms that this event seems to conjure—the political reckoning with the possible ends of, say, genetic research or the production of chemical weapons. But in fact the event dwells in the “sense” that …

Emotion and Cognition: About Some Key-Figures in Films by Alan Clarke

Framed in medium close shot, a young skinhead–head shaven, the tatoo of a swastika on his forehead–stands up abruptly and moves towards the camera. Sustained by the movement of the apparatus, his body appears to be projected forward as if smashing into the viewer’s face. The actor’s aggressive body language is reinforced by the slightly lingering camera and the discordant punk music creating a visual choc, a moment of characteristic high tension in this opening sequence. …

Memento: In Search of Remembrance

Memory is the most faithful of films … but who does not see the difference between a memory and the objective image that gives it eternal concrete form.
André Bazin[1]

In Marcel Carné’s Juliette ou la clef des songes (1950)[2] , the protagonist, Michel (Gerard Philipe), falls asleep in prison and dreams of a town on a hill in sunny Provence in which all the inhabitants have lost their memory. He wanders the streets looking for a woman about whom he remembers nothing except that he loves her and she is called Juliette. …

Electric Mind: A Screenplay (excerpt)

Page 20

INTERNATIONAL NIVERSITY SCIENCE LAB – NIGHT – FLASHBACK

Aaron , years younger, sits working at a computer.
Images of the human brain spiral on his computer screen. On his desk are stacks of printouts.
DR. ROPER enters. He is tall, thin man and wears a button-down shirt and khakis.
ROPER
Oh good, you are still here.

Aaron continues typing. He does not look up. Roper approaches hesitantly.…

Non-Visual Films

In 1965, American artist Tony Conrad made The Flicker, a film consisting entirely of black and white photograms, which alternated according to different arrangements or frequencies.

When projected, The Flicker produces a stroboscopic, or flashing, effect that often leads audiences to ‘see’ images or colored motifs. According to Jonas Mekas, the film actually provokes an epileptic attack in one out of every 15,000 people. Conrad, who studied the physiology of the nervous system at Harvard University, invents through this film a new film image that is different from the usual narrative or pictorial ones generally put forward in cinema. …

Importance of Color

color can help to facilitate and fulfil some very basic human needs. it can: identify and specify necessary objects (animal, vegetable or mineral) for survival and/or enjoyment; stimulate and work synergistically with all the senses – sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch; mark territory and manage personal space; symbolize abstract concepts and thoughts; recall another time or space /create a mnemonic sensation); express fantasy and wish-fulfilment; create illusions and ambience; emphasize or camouflage figures or objects; enhance self-image and personal esteem; produce an aesthetic response. most important, the use and arrangement of color enable us to create beauty and harmony and express our personal taste,

White Balance (excerpt)

New York Trolleys: Nervous System Demonstration

N 33° 51’ E 130° 47’

The position of the shadows indicates that we are heading north. This is confirmed by our GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver. After some days exploring Kitakyushu, we have already acquired a certain sense of position, and it is not without a certain proud feeling from slowly becoming able to determine our trajectories in an environment that we do not know, that we start to play little games among us. …

Corpus Callosum

Editor’s Note

The multidimensional map that links cybernetics, cognitive neuroscience and art commences early on in the history of cybernetics. First, cybernetics relationship to cognitive neuroscience is born out in its standard dictionary definition ” a science dealing with the comparative study of complex electronic calculating machines and the human nervous system in an attempt to explain the nature of the brain” (1) The two early pioneers of cybernetics Norbert Weiner and Warren McCollough were both involved in enlisting cybernetics in formulations of the workings of the processes of neural networks. Neural networks are groups of neurons, the basic cell of the nervous system which are responsible …

Art, A Window Into the Brain?

Can art tell us anything about the brain? Of course art is constrained by the limits of our nervous system. Subsonic symphonies are unlikely to be appreciated by any other than bats. If art is to tell us anything about the brain that is not already obvious then insights from art must somehow relate to observations in neuroscience.…

Richard Serra and the Brain: A Form Not Seen Before

No one would accept the job. Then I went to Korea. The Koreans could build it, but they don’t make sixteen-foot-wide plates, they only make twelve-foot-wide plates, but they don’t have a bender with a sufficient capacity. At that point, I didn’t think I would be able to make the work at all…. We finally found a place, Beth Ship, a shipyard and rolling mill in Maryland, who was interested in the problem….It‘s a large machine, between forty and fifty feet long, and it generates a tremendous amount of compression. Only four of these machines, called High-Smiths, were built during the Second World War in

Can Art Investigate the Brain?

To ask such a question is to presuppose that a certain form of empirical knowledge can arise by establishing relations of reciprocity among diverse structures. Be it in terms of contrast and polarity or in the form of shared qualities that emerge in correspondences which are manifest in a quasi-experimental manner, such a question assumes that something can be shown of the brain in art and, moreover, that the brain thus exposed would otherwise remain hidden from view. …

Conversation Map

Please Visit an online presentation of the Conversation Map Project from Warren Sack at his University of California, Santa Cruz homepage.

Gesundheit!

I would like to argue that these two pieces by Hanneline Rogeberg and Janine Antoni not only depict the convergence of the aesthetic with the synesthetic but also demonstrate the historical transformation of the convergence itself. That is, it is not only a matter of how artists have aestheticized synesthetic experience (as in reducing it to a rhetorical ploy), but also how this process has been changed by developments in neuroscience which in turn have altered our concept of how a symptomology of perception operates. …

The Cultured Brain

In the following argument I will utilize a theoretical framework of neurobiology called neural darwinism or neuroselectionism to construct a means through which an ever-evolving and variable, culturally determined, external objective reality acts to inscribe itself upon the developing brain. I will first describe this theoretical model. Thereafter I will describe a narrative that tells the story of the ontogeny of the art object as it moves through linear and non-linear time. …

Proprioception

Proprioception: from “proprius-ception, ‘one’s own’ ception (…) the ‘body’ itself as, by movement of its own tissues, giving the data of, depth”
(Charles Olson, “Proprioception”)

Up until now, it has not proved common in philosophy for readers to experience the breathless rush through sensory landscapes one finds in novels by William Gibson, or better, Jeff Noon (Vurt, Pollen). Philosophers of most stripes like to recapitulate; to reconstruct a context; to take you back a few steps in time and show you the emergence of an idea. Granted, there have been a few books in recent years coming out of the phenomenological tradition which emphasize the …

Numbers

In the videotape Numbers by Elizabeth Cohen and Michael Talley, people reflect the forces at work in our current environment; they are testing their circuitry as they remain continuously in training.…

Neural Prosthetics: A Survey of Technologies

The impact of fiction on synthetic reality

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