Modulation of memory

by hannesfrykholmuma

I am interest in the mechanisms of memory put in relation to the economization of our cognitive capacities, a process Sven-Olov Wallenstein refers to as noopolitics.[1] As Maurizio Lazzarato argues: “To remember something – like every activity of mind – is to actualise a virtual, and this actualisation is a creation, an individuation and not a simple reproduction.”[2] Remembering and recollecting fantasies can be seen as part of a becoming. To remember is not the act of the archivist roaming through old files in our memory banks, but instead a process that actively changes us. Instead of repetition or reproduction, the recollecting of past impressions is always virtual and points towards a difference. The act of memory and attention is to Lazzarato what generates certain flows of desire. To what extent is the current economic system modulating our memories and desires?

The process of modulating memories can perhaps be located in what has been called “the experience economy”. Formulated by Harvard economists B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, the term describes how many successful business ventures today focus less on selling the commodity and more on the actual experience of consumption. Pine and Gilmore notes: “Commodities are fungible goods tangible, services intangible, and experiences memorable.”[3] (my emphasis) In the contemporary spaces of consumption the environment triggers certain experiences and desires through its design. I think the experience economy can be seen as one way in which our memories and desires are integrated to the productive logics of the current economy. How can we as architects challenge this system for memory modulation?

Hannes Frykholm

[1] Sven-Olov Wallenstein, “Noopolitics, Life and Architecture,” in Cognitive Architecture: From Bio-Politics to Noo-Politics ; Architecture & Mind in the Age of Communication and Information, ed. D. Hauptmann and W. Neidich (Rotterdam: 010 Publishers).

[2] Maurizio. Lazzarato, “Life and the Living in the Societies of Control,” in Deleuze and the Social, ed. M. Fuglsang and B.M. Sørensen (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006), 185.

[3] B. Joseph Pine and James H. Gilmore, The Experience Economy (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2011), 98.