Tag Archives: memory

Film Review: Francofonia

“All museums must be prepared for war,” states director Alexander Sokurov during his ongoing narration of his latest film, Francofonia, a meditation on European cultural heritage and conflict via the Louvre. Continue reading

Cultural Heritage in the Age of 3-D Printing: Rise of the Intangible?

A year ago, I wrote a post about 3-D printing and its impact on cultural heritage in the museum world. Last week, I presented an expanded version of the essay as a paper at the tenth annual Arts in Society conference at Imperial College London.

You can now read the paper on Academia.edu.


Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

A mixtape of remembered sounds 6

  • Leaves falling extremely slowly in a nature preserve, no breeze, one car driving past in the far distance [Chicago]
  • A single leaf tumbling and coming to a stop on top of a piece of broken glass at the bottom of a staircase on the Seine [Paris]
  • Wind through palm trees [Las Vegas]
  • Tree trimmer’s work falling to the ground in Mahmoud Mukhtar Museum park [Cairo]
  • Leaves falling onto grass and patio bricks underneath my back porch [Ann Arbor]
  • Falling through a pine tree into a bed of needles below it [Milwaukee]
  • Playing my snare drum with dried leaves [Chicago]
  • Swirling leaves on concrete while sitting on a bench reading outside ZKM [Karlsruhe]
  • Kicking a small pile of dried leaves along Westminster bridge [London]
  • Placing a treasured ginko leaf from a friend in an envelope in preparation to move it to another city [Chicago]

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Book Review: The Ground of the Image by Jean-Luc Nancy

Cover of "The Ground of the Image"

Jean-Luc Nancy’s exploration of the image in relationship to the sacred feels slightly uneven compared to the other two books of his I’ve read (“Listening” and “The Fall of Sleep”). Two of the nine chapters — the first, “The Image — The Distinct”, and the fifth, “Distinct Oscillation”, contain some of my favorite writing of his, while the rest of the book hits a combination of high and low notes for my tastes. One of those high notes is his critique of violence in chapter two, which becomes so impassioned that his language becomes as coarse as the violence he seeks to shun; similarly, his keen eye for compositional analysis shines in the chapter eight’s analysis of a painting of the Visitation by Pontormo. The low notes tend to come in what I can only describe as needlessly murky writing, as in the meandering exploration of visual Nazism in chapter three, “Forbidden Representation.” Continue reading

Listening to the Active Sounds of History: field recording and museums

This essay was commissioned by Cheryl Tipp, curator of sound at the British Library. Illustrated with photographs and sound clips, it was originally published 30 August 2013 on the British Library’s Sound and Vision blog. I’m reproducing it here with a few minor edits I should have caught the first time around.

Memory is at the heart of much human activity. Memory drives us to collect, to record, to create documents –”information or evidence that serves as an official record” – that we then spend a lot of time and effort preserving. Some of these documents are strictly personal and kept as family heirlooms. Others end up being judged by someone else as having a broader significance, and end up being preserved in places like museums and libraries in order that they be made accessible to a wider audience. There are countless institutions around the world whose mission statements may not explicitly express it, but which are essentially dedicated to honoring the human desire to remember. Continue reading

A mixtape of remembered sounds 5

  • Street traffic and wind from the top of a minaret at Al-Azhar mosque [Cairo]
  • Cat purring while sitting on top of a motor scooter in Zamalek [Cairo]
  • The creak of an abandoned house boat as it swayed in the Nile current [Cairo]
  • The joyous noise of the disco boats after dark [Cairo]
  • The shuffling of canvas-booted feet inside the Solar Barque Museum, Giza [Cairo]
  • The rattle of dishes and silverware mixed with conversation in at least four different languages, Felfela restaurant [Cairo]
  • Birds, bells, and silence inside the Madrasa and Khanqah of Sultan Barquq [Cairo]
  • Woman emptying water bucket into the street, Al-Muizz Street, Khan Al-Khalili [Cairo]
  • Donkey chewing hay in Old Cairo [Cairo]
  • Clapping, whistling, and laughter of the audience dancing on the stage at a concert in the El Genaina Theatre [Cairo]

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

A mixtape of remembered sounds 4

  • Ocean waves at the beach [Long Beach]
  • Camera shutters, breeze, boats, and traffic below the castle wall [Heidelberg]
  • Stomping on the floor of the Columbia College reverb chamber [Chicago]
  • Sunken bedroom floorboard [Ann Arbor]
  • Elevator rising, ZKM [Karlsruhe]
  • Trolley pole wheels on overhead cables [Toronto]
  • Men’s room door hinge, Café De Balie [Amsterdam]
  • Punching time clock in Jackson Park [Milwaukee]
  • Portable electric generator, Eastern Market [Detroit]
  • Caged bird market [Paris]

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.