"Gas masks: material culture, memory, and the senses" by Gabriel Moshenska in The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
"Memory of the Senses" by Cildo Meireles and Charles Merewether in Grand Street
"Memory" by David Shields in Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art.
"Continuity between Recall and Recognition" by Endel Tulving and Michael J. Watkins in The American Journal of Psychology.
One TED Talk
Three Events & Other Talks
Gabriel Moshenska picks up where Grassby left off in 002.2b, with his material history of the gas mask. Predicated on the idea of objects as mediation between people and their stories, The situation in the gas mask article is great, but in the end the stories lack feeling. It is like the VR problem of being fundamentally pixels. This history is fundamentally words and more dryly recounted than evoked.
"Memory of the Senses" takes a different point of view, being an image-heavy article on Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles. Each piece description is a compelling vignette on — here's that word again! — evoking complex experiences: fear of the future with candles and the smell of gas, entrapment with nets that constrain physically but not visually.
"In Greek mythology Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, is also the mother of the nine muses," David Shields begins, in his meditation on memory and the differences between fiction and nonfiction. Overall, this third essay made me angry — I find his insistence on the differences between imagination and invention silly and his insults of Proust intolerable — but in a good way, in a way that lets me know it is a perspective I need a response to.
The fourth, the psychology experiment was a bust — uninteresting and probably too old — but there are many more sense-memory papers I have read previously, particularly around smell, and I am glad to go back to that well.
While the TED talk was mostly gross and sexist examples, the idea that engaging all senses makes for more meaningful experiences was resonant. Even more, I am so sad the Tate Sensorium and Art of Scent exhibits are in the past.
It is perhaps unnecessary to say this may be the topic I am most excited about. The investigations of art, memory and experience are the most visceral. There is also a freedom in the way things are addressed — outside the strictness of more of the history focused works. (The biggest exception are the Wiener and Hayles essays, which are from a book of art essays.) For here we have the things themselves.