Session I CULTURAL MEMORY IN THE DIGITAL AGE
Professor emeritus Université de Paris VIII
Historical time and „uchronic“ time.
Thinking memory and oblivion differently
The digital technologies (computers, global communication networks, multimedia, electronic games or art installations) have not merely changed our relationship with the world and the other, they have shaken our relationship with time and rocked the very foundations of our culture. We are torn between two temporalities. The first temporality belongs to chronic time, the longitudinal time of history, of the events absorbed and retained by writing, writing being what organises memory and oblivion. The second temporality belongs to machines and plunges us in a time outside of time, that virtual or „uchronic“ time where events give way to eventualities. What happens to our world when writing, which has guaranteed the permanence of history until now, conforms to the model of hypertext and splits? When the thread which history spans from past and present to the future threatens to tear under the pressure of „uchronic“ time? Are we to reinvent our relationship to time? What are the consequences of this change of temporality for the conservation of digital art works and for the sphere of art more generally?