The Skinning of Memory
For Western industrialized countries, technology opened up a whole new playing field – one of desiring. Since the early twenties, manufacturers set out to romance the consumer – coaxing them into believing that ‘desire’ trumped ‘need’. Manufacturers realized that they could lure the consumer with brand new and shinning technological objects by making them believe these objects played a critical role in their daily lives – specifically their social status. However, the manufacturer’s ultimate end game was planned obsolescence.
It could also be said that this naïve yet profound end game of planned obsolescence carried with it some grave consequences – politically, socially, psychologically and environmentally. In a predicated move by a select few to control the psychology and spending habits of the many – the public – through the desiring of objects, a sort of psychic shift began to occur in the collective conscience of society – the disembodied of the physical self towards one which was virtual. And this virtual self began to exist in an abstracted relationship to billions of memory bits flowing through a distant network made up of millions of technological system/objects – system/objects which we continued to desire and on which we had become depended upon. But this is not necessarily a negative, that is, if we were to allow technology’s role within a society to become one of revealing and not one of obscuring – the truth.
But how do we as a society go about doing that – revealing rather than obscuring the truth via technology? Perhaps a better question may be, do we really want to? Many have tried to tackle this issue such as Plato in his Allegory of the Cave (514a-520a); Benjamin in his essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936); Heidegger in The Question Concerning Technology (1954); Baudrillard in Simulacra and Simulation (1981); Deleuze and Guattari’s with Anti-Oedipus (1972); Donna Haraway in her A Cyborg Manifesto (1985) and N. Katherine Hayles’ with How We Became Posthuman (1999). Within fiction, we also find the likes of H. G. Wells, Mary Shelly, George Orwell, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, trying to grapple with this issue, along with Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
Images from: Vertebra, Part 2: The Skinning of Memory (VP2) | 20’W x 17’H x 16’D | Mixed Media | Site-Specific/Immersive Installation | Partial/Detail Views | Artist Studio, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada 2009
Other images can be view here: https://naccarato.org/the-skinning-of-memory-vp2/