Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Quote of the day

"Perhaps the reason I feel quite so liberated from the present while more and more attached, not to individually-recalled 'good old days', but to a collectively attested and ever-present past, is because the hard drive of my computer is overloaded with digital images of the places I've been and the people I've met, all of them time-coded to a 10th of a second. There are also audio files of conversations I've had, and an email trail leading back to 1996 comprised of many, many thousands of ephemeral traces.

In this brave old world, I can employ a few keystrokes and so correlate my personal recollection of what was happening on that day, at that very hour, with public events in Birmingham, Bratislava or Beijing. 

Because of this, it seems to me that in the past decade or so, the half-life of our memories has become artificially extended. Instead of curling photographs and yellowing newspapers, we are possessed of a shiny and permanent now, one we flit-click about and so delude ourselves as to our own eternal youth - until, that is, we look down at the wrinkled and liver-spotted hands that rest on the keyboard."

Will Self ponders how the digital media revolution has warped our view of past and present, with the obligatory reference to Jean Baudrillard.

No comments: