A Cartography of the Aesthetics and Locality of Forgetting: Preliminary Remarks on Samuel Delany’s Dhalgren, Mark Amerika’s Hypertextual Consciousness [beta-version] and Christopher Nolan’s Memento

Critical Writing
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In this paper, I aim to discuss the differences and similarities between three separate works of art spanning three decades- Delany’s Dhalgren was published in 1974, Mark America’s Hypertextual Consicousness [beta-version (http://www.cyberartsweb.org/cpace/111/htc/title.html) in the late 1990s while Memento was released in 2001. All three pieces share a number of similarities: characters and narrators who wander in landscapes where the interior and the exterior intersect; the characters in the Delany and the Nolan movie are in the process of recovering and recreating via memory recuperation and rewriting personal and collective history while the reader-user of Hypertextual Consicousness [beta-version]  attempts to prise meaning out of an unstable critical narrative questioning the notions of textuality, identity and the self in cyberspace; the discourse in all of these pieces is fragmented, disjointed or continually overturned. All of these pieces display a complex attitude to the relationship between the corporeal and the discursive; the urban-primitive mythology and ritual of tattooing and grafting in Memento, the seemingly boundless, seemingly flickering online identity in Hypertextual Consciousness [beta-version] &the personal-collective palimpsest-mythologies of Delany all seem to illustrate the fact that the constitution of the self is entwined with the intersubjective and interdiscursive constitution and representation of the mechanics of forgetting and remembering.  It is intriguing to observe how all of these discourses seem to overturn the notions of the representations of identity and self in order to replace it with selves, identities and  texts in constant upheaval and change. All three narratives illustrate the multiplicities of identity as they are actualised in response to the traumatic event of amnesia and the subsequent rebuilding of memory.

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Theodoros Chiotis