memories / images – attempt of a complex equation

This entry posted some days ago on apophenia (her commenting that I’ve never been a good photographer because i’m more interested in creating memories than capturing) made me think again on the much stated (and as well by myself expressed thought) that taking photographs is set equal with not going through the whole experience like if it would be one of the few things left over and consequently be still categorizable in these times of dwingling either / or divisions.

Something never seemed really to be right about the idea that there exists a crucial distinction between the image and the memory – as if one has ultimatively to decide between one or the other. This thought implements that images translate without any reference and do not have any relation to memories. But memories just exsist because of the creation of images – internal and/or external ones.
What seems to be stored in memory is thus not the event but the constructed event. It is a picture (imago mundi), but a picture which retrospectively changes the event (anima mundi). … History is based on memory, but not type of “snapshot” memory mentioned earlier, history is narrated memory. / link)

I don’t want to speak about the authenticity factor, or the relation to reality of images – both work for me on a relative level of interpretation (based on perceptional preconceptions). Both include a certain framing, display each time a certain excerpt of the entire event. Simply one is mainly considered as the almost purely subjective ‘inside‘ impression of ‘memory’ while the other – the ‘image’ – still stands for an ‘outside’ look, something more objective. So they give reference for two different types of truthes which indeed then effect the level to which they are considered authentic.

The image can hold the memory and be specifically important to express memories, nevertheless it has to be thought about as falling under the law of recreating a madness*, a subjective draw back moment. It might be distorted and subjective like the event when experienced – each moment of viewing just has to be counted as a new recreation in terms of time framing.

An opposite opinion would be to distinguish between a ‘life lived’ and a ‘life represented’ in images / memories. This is an attitude which after all what has been said and written considers the indexical power of the image still as an absolut attribute.

… ‘an experienced event is finite’ but an involuntarily ‘remembered event is infinite because it is only a key to everything that happened before and after it’
( ‘The Image of Proust’, p. 198 / taken from here)

A Benjamin quote I found today flips the thing around and re-routes the imaginative power of memories. Surely memories considered that way can either block, but equally build a foundation to move on. At least memories – to return to simple expressions – are considered as ‘lasting’ things – a rare thing to have, even though they become distorted and blurred. They point to the events which create the lines of lives – mapping the area – wether via internal or external images.
Representational images are not the mere proof we have. Memories are inscribed into landscape and bodies .. and conduct future movement. Even if not admitted – they still are at work on the unconscious level.

The demystification of ‘taken’ images / of retaining control of the power they take over our memory is an essential understanding in these image regimed times. To see ‘us’ (our memory) as handed over cannot be regarded as a productive way for understanding these no/w/here moments we live through in-and-out the images! (.. they are there anyway …)

At least in this point I definitly agree with McLuhan .. we are inhabitating the machinic extensions we created. This understanding I see as the only way to regain the power within imagination .. as imagination meanwhile has learned to walk in front of us. No urgent need to speed up much more, but one to start to understand the allover impact images claim – from politics to everyday life – to catch up with the alternating methods of reflection.


*madness of photography: Barthes suggests that the photograph is mad because it is an “identification of reality (‘that-has-been’) with truth (‘there-she-is’) . . . to that crazy point where affect (love, compassion, grief, enthusiasm, desire) is a guarantee of Being” (Barthes, 113). Barthes writes that it is through the conjunction of Photography, madness and love that he can clasp the referent in an act of pity. “I passed beyond the unreality of the thing represented, I entered crazily into the spectacle, into the image, taking into my arms what is dead, what is going to die” (Barthes, 117). source
general: Barthes Camera Lucida; annotations 1 & 2

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