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Quantum Feminist Mnemotechnics: The Archival Text, Digital Narrative and The Limits of Memory

Critical Writing
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2003
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Abstract (in English): 

New technologies-- whether used for artistic or scientific ends--require new shapes to speak their attributes. Feminist writers too have long sought a narrative shape that can exist both inside and outside of patriarchal systems. Where like-minded theorists have tried to define a gender-specific dimension for art, Quantum Feminist Mnemotechnics demonstrates that feminist artists have already built and are happily inhabiting this new technological room of their own. This dissertation is an exploration of the architectural shapes of mnemonic systems in women's narratives in the new media (focusing on Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl, M.D. Coverley's Califia and Diana Reed Slattery's Glide and The Maze Game as exemplary models). Memory is key here, for, what gets stored or remembered has always been the domain of official histories, of the conqueror speaking his dominant cultural paradigm and body. I explore at length three spatial architectures of the new media: the matrix, the unfold and the knot.

Within quantum mechanics, the science of the body in motion, the intricacies of the interiorities of mnemonic time--no longer an arrow--are being realized in the (traditionally) feminized shape of the body of the matrix. This is the real time realm of cyberspace where the multiple trajectories of the virtual engender a new kind of looking: disorientation as an alternative to linear perspective. Where women have usually been objects to be looked at, hypermedia systems replace the gaze with the empowered look of the embodied browser in motion in archival space. Always in flux, the shape of time s transformation is a Möbius strip unfolding time into the dynamic space of the postmodern text, into the unfold. As quantum interference, the unfold is a gesture that is a sensory interval. In this in-between space, the transformance of the nomadic browser takes place; she performs the embodied knowledge acquired in her navigation of the world of the text. Quantum space in hypertexts is shaped as an irreducible knot, an entangled equation both in and out of space-time, spanning all dimensions as a node in a mnemonic system. Wanderlust is the engine driving the browser on her quest through the intricately knotted interplay of time and space in these electronic ecosystems. What the browser finds there is rapture--an emergent state of embodied transformation in the experiential realm. What she acquires is not mastery, but agency, and an aesthetic interval of her own.

Quantum Feminist Mnemotechnics: The Archival Text, Electronic Narrative & the Limits of Memory

Chapter 1. The Archive: Memory, Writing, Feminisms i. Mnemotechnics and Quantum Feminisms ii. The Arts of Memory: What Came Before iii. Writing As a Mnemonic Technology iv. Women s Writing and Feminisms

Chapter 2. The Matrix: Information Overload i. Temporal Perspectives on Information Culture ii. Feminist Dis/Orientations iii. Space-Time Architectures: The Aesthetics of Memory iv. Archival Structures and Fractal Subjectivities

Chapter 3. The Unfold: Immersion i. Unfoldings: Bodies of Memory ii. Transformance: The Body as Interface iii. Hierophanies and Choric Space

Chapter 4. The Knot: Disorientation i. Incrementals: Where Visual Time Meets Virtual Space ii. Knots in the Cosmos iii. The Tangled Trajectories of Nomadic Logic iv. Wanderlust

Chapter Five: Conclusion(s)

(Source: LABS: Leonardo ABstracts Service)

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Record posted by: 
Carolyn Guertin