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Re: <eyebeam><blast> the museological and the urban

Carlos wrote:
>>The issue of memory becomes then fundamental. I like Koolhaus
>>suggestion that the museological and the urban can become the same. In
>>a previous intervention I suggested the possibility of replacing the
>>institution of the museum with the exhibition as an institution. If
>>that is possible, it would rely entirely on the city as the 
>>reservoir of memory. Not only memory as information, but memory as
>>lived memory,a  know-how of everyday life, memory as inscribed in the
>>body. Lygia Clark's therapy provides us with a model of this kind of
>>memory, a model that could potentially be related to an archeology of
>>the urban.
This paragraph immediately makes me think of encoded mnemonics, as
outlined in Frances Yates book The Art Of Memory (Pimlico Press). In
this work Yates explores mnemonics from the Greeks up till the
Rennaissance, with a major focus on the work of Robert Fludd and
Giodorno Bruno. The primary thesis is that in many cultures memory was
seen as important and as artful as logic or poetics. The way this often
manifested itself in the examples she provides sound awfully like what
Carlos says above, about the city becoming a resevoir of memory (Yates
gives examples such the Memory Theatre, where memories are encoded into
architectural and object detail such that they can later be retrieved as
necessary, by the one who put them there or by another).

Yates wrote her book in the 60's (prior to the flood of
post-structuralist texts that dealt with similar ideas from another
angle) and did not attempt to address contemporary culture in any form
at all. Her background was classical art history and her work seems to
be entirely unaware of areas such as semiotics and structuralism (which
certainly were well established at the time of her writing). The thing
is, it really sounds like Koolhaus has taken Yates work and hybridised
it with more recent debate (Foucault, Virilio, notions of
intertextuality and the signifying status of things, etc) to come up
with this idea of memory inscribed upon things. This is interesting not
only because of the potential value of these ideas but also for showing
how a diversity of theoretical approaches can function in addressing
similar issues, even when those approaches are ignorant of one another.
It is a good argument against a totalisation of theory, against the idea
that there is only one correct theory or way of seeing.

Simon Biggs
London GB

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