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WRITING-AND-THE-DIGITAL-LIFE  September 2005

WRITING-AND-THE-DIGITAL-LIFE September 2005

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Subject:

Re: Cultural Memory

From:

Lawrence Upton <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 7 Sep 2005 17:02:52 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (83 lines)

You have a point

but i suspect there is a strong likelihood that files will not be
transferred

Recently on poetryetc the question came up as to preservation of archives

I have always responded to this question; and have said that all writers'
archives should be kept; and this time I wearied of it and said nothing

Answers related to how people felt about being read in the future, as if it
is really any different to recollections or bits of paper. One leaves a
trail of mistakes and misjudgements along with the sensible stuff. And that
is part of publishing. Few seemed to realise that we have no idea what will
seem important in the future

It is likely that in the future there will be less significant data, not
less - the delete button is characteristically easy to use

I have photographic documentation of my family back over a century; and they
are, as the novel suggests, in another country

The pictures do not create an historical context. Nor are they memories, but
only sources from which to write a narrative

L

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jonathan Kepple" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2005 8:53 PM
Subject: [WDL] Cultural Memory


A couple of years ago there was an exhibition at The British Museum called:
'The Museum of the Mind'. It was concerned with way in which cultures record
in their traditions, values and beliefs in their artefacts - the way they
are made and decorated and what they represent. The exhibit presented the
museum as more than just a collection of historical objects. It was also a
library of cultural memory.

The rise of digital technology is likely to increase, substantially, our
surrogate memory. We will find ourselves in the position to be reacquainted
second hand,with experiences that have been forgotten.

In the past this would have been done through a diary, or perhaps a piece of
art. When I was young, my parent's still camera, with a battery operated
flashbulb, took frozen snapshots of our lives.

However the camera only came out on special occasions - Birthdays or
Christmas. Film cost money. It had to be sent off to be developed and turned
into slides. Watching these slides involved setting up the projector. There
was a financial burden and a lot of ceremony involved.

The accessibility of digital technology - both the decreasing price, the
portability and the convenience of built-in hard drives as a storage medium,
will lend itself to frequent, spontaneous use. Any footage can be
transferred to other mediums quickly and with very little fuss.

The less effort required to use a piece of technology, the more likely it is
to be used. This generation may find their lives documented more than any in
the past. As adults, they will have access to a cache of visual and audio
data recording their early years. They will see themselves at the beginning
of their lives - a period that most of us only have sketchy memories of.

Furthermore after they are gone, if the archive is maintained, future
generations will be able to look deep into their family history and see
people, who they never met, in their historical context.

**********

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