In this case, life imitates art

Print Screen and save to desktop. New way to preserve memories?

 

 True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories. ~ Florence King, Novelist

Having seen Kenneth Lo’s show at the Southern Exposure Gallery this past week, it’s got me thinking about the way we preserve our memories or what we even perceive as memory. To think something is utterly sublime and beautiful one moment can be gone within a second. Lo’s work has stuck with me, really stuck with me since I saw it. Yeah, sure, I have art crushes (lots of them, quite frankly) yet there was something about the every stone tethered to sleep exhibition that put into physical form what I’ve always felt about the nature of the mind in contemporary times. The mind is more scattered and inundated with massive amounts of information coupled with emotions, feelings, experiences, and memories. I swear, sometimes, I wonder how many gigabytes of memory I have. It’s even worse when I’m physically writing or drawing and thinking, “Damn, control-Z!! control-Z!!!” Ah, well, that’s technology for you.

Yes, Mr. Lo has become an artLove. Sigh.

By the way, my girlfriend is fully aware of this affinity I have for Mr. Lo.

With the ephemeral nature of comment threads, twittering, and status updates, the tangibility of feeling seems lost. I believe many humans have this irrational notion of permanence. This foolish idea that things persist. We could get all complicated and I won’t do that but, at some point in our lives, we die. Things die everyday. As Lo shows us, even our exchanges are subjected to a type of death UNLESS we examine them. Maybe, this is why I’m fixated on the work. Death, technology, and social networking rolled up into one? I mean, come on, you don’t think that’s ridiculously and wickedly clever? Well, it doesn’t matter, I think it is and that’s why I can’t stop writing about it, which leads me to the photo I posted today. 

My Mom has impeccable timing (and has given me an excuse to talk about Lo’s work). She felt the need to change her profile picture and let me know. She was sensitive to the fact that I may wonder why our picture (a picture my cousin took of us a few months ago) is no longer her profile picture. Whether this is true or not, is irrelevant. The fact that she was sensitive enough to write was really thoughtful. Do I care if she changes her Facebook profile? Of course not!! That type of decision is left to her own volition BUT the sensitivity expressed was pretty priceless if you ask me. As a matter of fact, the comment thread resulted in this quite heartfelt and endearing exchange. Truthfully, there have probably been hundreds of thoughtful exchanges with friends and family that I have discarded. Now, I’m not going to encourage everyone start print screening and cropping their threads and putting them into scrapbooks (what a surreal thought, eh?). However, I will say this, why is it that art comes to the rescue when people forget that they’re people (living beings for goodness sake)? Why is it becoming so natural to pay less and less attention to the things we say, express, and how we act? Lastly, most importantly, why on earth does my mother continue to use license plate language when leaving me comments or text messages (sorry, Mom, you know how I feel about letter and number combinations in written form)? Only joking…

If she’s reading this, I know she’s laughing.

Advertisements

Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos is a writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research areas and interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, networked culture, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She is currently the managing editor for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and Public Art Dialogue. She has lectured and spoken at the De Young museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” has been published to The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture in 2016. She serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism, board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center, and teaches at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Digital Art and New Media department.

2 thoughts on “In this case, life imitates art”

  1. this is a great post. i’m here to stalk you now. (puffy heart!)

    so here is a random-ish connect-the-dots from your “Death, technology, and social networking rolled up into one? … “ pondering. and it’s a long comment so i’m pulling the nugget up front here also –
    nyt article cyberspace when you’re dead

    back to random – last month sometime, i heard some KQED radio show about cyberspace, dying, “what if …” then what happens to someone’s social network accounts, blogs, flickr, etc. maybe you heard the interview, also? (note to self: take inventory of my electronic stuff)

    the interview was with digital beyond folks. (i haven’t dug into (stalked) your blog given i’m a new reader, so apologies if you’ve mentioned this. if so, then it’s just a (re)fresher.) it was an interesting interview, technology aside from the service of digital beyond and others like it. just the concept (and reality) of electronic legacy, bits and pieces on the net, perhaps mobile apps, comments left on forums and discussion boards, seemingly fleeting activities, etc. AND one of the reasons this interview caught my attention initially was not about the death-technology thing, it was because a colleague of mine has written a book on planning, preparing, and peace – for planning emergencies (not just for near death or death). i figured it would be a great blog post for her. (her blog over here, where she’s new to it all.)

    so i now see you will become part of my security blogkets (my little web security blankets that i visit!) look forward to more reads and thoughts!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s