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36ème Congrès du CIHA - Lyon 2024

Parrainé par le Ministère de la Culture,
le Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche,
le Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères

Materiality of Memory: Towards Intangible and Digital Matter

Claudio Hernandez 1

Tecnologico De Monterrey - Monterrey (Mexico)

Sujet en anglais / Topic in english

Materiality of Memory: Towards Fragile Intangible and Digital Matter
Science fiction, what a redundancy
Jorge Luis Borges

Posed as a contradiction, Borges’ though can be read as a pleonasm. Memory converges the idea of tangible and intangible matter and could be considered under a process of dematerialization and rematerialization in this digital transformation era. Something always remains about memory such as an emotion or a traceable bit that we can understand as a new materiality (Braidotti, 2013), since in the Digital Turn servers, clouds, digital art, and installations signify a materiality of content which involves issues about sustainability and preservation that is not clear to see, comprehend and estimate.

Fiction creates reality and viceversa, both could be considered exclusive and opposites notions. Fiction usually is based on reality, it is not dissociated from it, but rather shapes and defines it. On the other hand, reality is sustained and articulated in some kind of fiction such as myths, religions, nationalisms, philosophical systems, axioms, working hypotheses (Schwartz, 2022).

This proposal invites an interdisciplinary approach, experience, and experimentation to rethink, create, imagine, reenact, sense the relationship between matter and materiality of memory. Digital transformation of heritage raises many questions regarding the interactions between digital objects, its production, circulation, dissemination, value, preservation or destruction/reconstitution and their ways of transition, access, affection, and care.

The follow examples conduct the same question: What remains in terms of materiality of memory within the Digital Turn? Which highlight the tension between virtual dematerialization of art towards a digital materialization. Based on the fact, that art is autonomous, amoral, apolitical, religious, a juridical (Gabriel), What are digital remains? What are the creational, processual and performance digital residues?

In 2022 a private drawing by the artist Frida Kahlo titled Sinister Ghosts was incinerated at a farewell party to create a series of NFTs up for auction (see image 1). The owner argued to develop a new art form born from the material ashes of the work. This action generated great controversy due to the fact of destroying an original work on paper to create a work for a digital environment such as an NFT.

On the other hand, artist Refik Anadol affirms: “I am trying to find ways to connect memories with the future and make the invisible visible” (see image 2). In his installation Hallucinations, this creator uses AI to interpret and transform thousands of images to conceive a work of art. Whether due to the singularity of a work converted into NFT through burning/dematerialization, or due to the sum of thousands of images to integrate/rematerialize a unique work, the materiality of memory is no longer fixed but in movement in a continuous process of redefinition.

Finally, we cannot stop paying attention to the fragility of the intangibility and digitality of the matter of memory, since the meanings of loss, change and damage (Henderson) have a different perspective to the perception of all works of art.