"The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant." --Salvador Dali

In Proust’s famed novel, sometimes translated as In Search of Lost Time, the main character, Marcel, performs a nearly miraculous memory trick. By simply dipping a madeleine cookie in tea and tasting it, he triggers a recollection so powerful that it transports him in time, bringing a piece of his childhood into being. And so he reclaims lost time…and experience

In our digital age, we seem more obsessed than ever with preserving our immediate experiences. Yet, we also seem equally unwilling or unable to commit these new encounters to memory. Our natural reflex is to reach for our digital devices to take quick photos, make notes, and send texts, to capture the experience and to defer its consumption for a later time. It's as though these devices were an extension of ourselves. More and more, we rely on them to document our everyday and to mediate our personal memories.

You could say we live in the age of perfect remembrance. Our devices capture everything and the web preserves everything. The internet is a repository for our lives: a place to store memories and to locate other people's memories, too. The layers of our past accumulate there--old accounts in defunct media platforms, mundane emails from yesteryear, candid photos taken by third parties, lapsed information dislocated from context--a burdensome trail of archived memory data. This archival box gives us a certain comfort in knowing that we can always retrieve and reconstruct our memories, but are these really memories or simply digitized memory data? And can we leave any of it in the past, if we wanted to?

Memories aren't just about recalling singular details, but about making connections within a complex network of information and experience. What happens to our capacity to remember if we let devices do our remembering for us? Are we paying attention in the same way as we did before or will we, before long, find ourselves in search of our lost memory?

One thing is certain, our digital ways are disrupting the workings of our memory as we know it. So, we might need to learn anew how to remember and how to forget.

Arlinda Shtuni

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Les Gardiens du Jardin

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From May 18, 2017 To Jul 5, 2017

On view at the Center until July 5

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Bastille Day Party 2017

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Friday, July 14, 2017 6:00 PM To 11:00 PM

Bastille Day returns to Marlborough Street on Friday, July 14 for a celebration of Francophone cultures filled with live music, dancing, festive food and drinks. After a sold-out event in 2014, 2015, and 2016, you won't want to miss this signature Back Bay festival.

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Bastille Day VIP Reception 2017

support our community celebration

Friday, July 14, 2017 6:00 PM To 11:00 PM

Celebrate Bastille Day with fellow culture enthusiasts and sponsors at our VIP Reception featuring an open bar, complimentary French hors d’œuvres and desserts and direct views of the concert stage!

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