Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Role of Memory in the Construction of Imagined Communities

In exploring the many different perspectives of the theorists on the broad field of "media," it seems as if there is no apparent space (or need?) for memory. Perhaps because of the temporal value of media, and its substance - information - that is to be emitted, distributed, disseminated, and shared, and yet having to give in to the newer materials that are constantly flowing in...

For example, Anderson's notion of the imagined communities that are founded upon the idea of sharing prints that hold information in the age of mechanical reproduction and simultaneous consumption, Saussure's emphasis on language, Feuer's idea of the liveness of television, and  Terranova's notion of "general intellect" -- the existence of "free labor" as a participant of the networked sites...('networked publics' of Boyd). Considering these views in the examination of media, how does one, as an individual in a society and in the world, come to view his or her life, or the imagined communities that he comes to partake? Does one's memory matter, is there a space for something so private or personal - in the world of constant acquisition for knowledge. (As Professor Chun refers to the Enlightenment thinking, does all this knowledge really lead to progress? the superfluous information that leads to better action? What about the highly rendered quality of these social and thus cultural constructions (information - knowledge)? What does this problematize - that the public accounts weigh heavier, looms over the personal accounts of private memory? What are the complications of the position we are to take as a member of the mass - mediated world? 

In a way it almost seems as if the highly -mediated world of the present voids of "personal," or something such as private memory. Consider the Lambdamoo that is a quintessential imagined community. 
"[In LambdaMoo] participants lose themselves in their roles and collaborate in a form of collective authorship... MUDs are characterized by a tightly knit - though globally dispersed - community of characters engaged in an ongoing dialogue that combines the aimlessness of nomadic wandering with the focused creativity of world building." ( 

Detaching oneself from the media-theory-student position and instead examining it from a critical perspective, how does one view - life? Has it merely become a part of the larger imagined community that feeds on the creative force of individuals - whose identities have become - in a way - amorphous and vulnerable to change to the ever- changing conditions of the world? (that is directed by media thoroughly in all ways).

Reality, realism, true, and the gap between the virtual and the real. 
I guess it all comes down to the question of "what is real?"

...but then again since when was there such a truth, as both history and memory are in essence  ultimately a social construct...

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