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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
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


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 …



June 2009
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