Troubling the ethics of representing others’ memories
It started as a conversation: A woman donating her memory of the German occupation of her hometown in Jutland to the Museum of Random Memory in 2017. Video-recorded and transcribed, this conversation becomes a malleable form through which to explore practices of data storage, decay, dispreservation, and uncurating.
But what does it *really* mean to datify, remix and re-present others’ memories? What ethical dilemmas accompany the re-mediation process?
On August 29-30, 2018, we’ll do another version of the Museum of Random Memory. This time, MoRM will be in the hallways of Godsbanen, in Aarhus Denmark. As part of the Affect, Interface, Event conference, we’ll reflect on these questions through an audio-video installation. Variations, (re)mediations and remixes of the original recorded conversation — augmented with other human and non-human characters — illuminate how human stories combine in data infrastructures, produce affect, and infer logics in ways we cannot anticipate. This installation emphasizes the multiple agencies involved in creating future memories. Without solving the original ethical dilemma, we offer multiple new ones as tools to stay with the trouble.
The images you see above are various tests of how we might alter the original recording to make a statement (for the conference) about data degradation and future memories. It speaks to the importance of making sure we use methods for archiving that preserve the integrity of the data being preserved. But immediately, it also speaks to the impossibility of knowing exactly what ought to be digitally preserved.
Through this series of interventions/installations called the Museum of Random Memory or MoRM, we’re posing questions like: What is the process of remembering and forgetting in the digital age? How are memories stored for us by digital platforms like Facebook and Google? How do you store or find your own digital memories? How might we better control how future heritage is being created, not only by us but by many automated features of new tech? 100 years from now, what artifacts will archaeologists find to tell them about the year 2018? What would we like them to find? You can read more about it at futuremaking.space/morm