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Forgetting in the Future: design fiction and the (evil) link between perfect and failing memory
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
2013 (English)In: Missing Links: The Somatechnics of Decolonisation, Linköping: Tema Genus, Linköping university , 2013, 70-70 p.Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper theorizes how memory-augmenting technologies can operate as the missing linkbetween perfect and failing memory. Notably, forgetting is an important strategy for queerhuman-computer interaction (Light, 2011) and for the study of “queer failure”(Halberstam,2011). In short,queer failure shows how errors, when occurring under the tyranny of success, can become important and empowering errata. By combining the theoretical perspective of queer failure with the notion of “evil media” (Fuller & Goffey, 2012), this paper makes fruitful conceptual connections between queer theory, media materialism and interaction criticism.

“Mediation facilitates and amplifies thecreation of troubling, ambiguous social processes,fragile networks ofsusceptible activity, opaque zones of nonknowledge –the evils ofmedia.” (ibid.p.3)

Empirically, the paper engages with two episodes of the futuristic British TV show Black Mirror:one emphasizing the liberating capacity of forgetting; the other emphasizing how forgetting, or rather, revoking remembering, becomes a systemict ool for instrumental power. This tension between forgetting as resistance andf orgetting as punishment is addressed through design fiction, which makes use of the imagined futures of science fiction narratives to inform our thinking about how (memory) technologies operate once they have matured and become ubiquitous in society (Tanenbaum, Tanenbaum & Wakkary, 2012). As such, the paper aims to discuss what memory technologies do. Generally speaking, they turn brains into harddrives and memories into databases – subject to search, storage, manipulation and sharing as any digital-virtual object (van Doorn, 2011). They create somatechnical gray zones inbetween good and evil, success and failure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Tema Genus, Linköping university , 2013. 70-70 p.
Keyword [en]
design, speculative fiction, failure, normativity
National Category
Gender Studies Media and Communications
Research subject
Human-machine interaction
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-91052ISBN: 978-91-7519-581-0OAI: diva2:630435
Somatechnics International Conference. Linköpings university June 17-19, 2013
Available from: 2013-06-18 Created: 2013-06-18 Last updated: 2013-10-08Bibliographically approved

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