Forgetting 2.0

February 27, 2008

Memory Work I: Freudian Slip

It isn’t the willful forgetting that interests me, as much as the unconscious forgetting of those names, things, places, dates, events, reasons and consequences that are dissonate with a certain way of seeing and existing in the world. The act of choosing to forget is a form of remembering . . . a gesture of forgiveness, healing, detachment, withdrawal, cowardice or mere convenience.

Memory work entails an ethical act of revisiting the past to avoid repeating errors in the future, to illuminate unchallenged assumptions that contributed to distorted histories. 

The Great Flood of the virtual archives has innodated users with a tsunami of words. I am attempting to use emerging technical tools of the semantic web to make it easier for other users at all levels to hyperlink names, things, places, dates, events, reasons and consequences to reliable and/or frequently cited sources in subject areas where I have been an active teacher, learner and researcher.

These compilations are found in one of the main search engines along with other posts and articles proposing an argument from the opposite end of the ideological spectrum.  


1. Layers in this Flickr image include a .jpg of Renaissance artist Luca Signorelli’s (1445 – 1523) masterpiece, the massive frescoes of the Last Judgment (1499-1503) in Orvieto Cathedral. The copyright on his work has expired since he passed away more than 70 years ago. There is a topographical map of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a small iinsert of Freud’s museum which is itself th subject of controversy as rrevealed in Derrida’s book Archives Fever (1996). The uppermost layer is the diagram from the Freud’s article explaining how he made a Freudian slip. The catalyst for this layered image was Freud’s influential paper (1901 [1914]) entitled “Forgetting of Proper Names in Psychopathology of Everyday Life.” In it Freud examined the psychological process of forgetting the name of the artist who painted the Orvieto ceiling when his conscious thinking process was abruptly interrupted by memories of the recent suicide of one of his patients who had an incurable sexual disorder. He forget Signorelli’s proper name during this conversation with a stranger while traveling in Herzegovina. They had been discussing the Turks in Bosnia and Herzegovina when Freud’s thoughts turned to contemporary [racist] beliefs surrounding the sexual moeurs of Turks who allegedly valued sexual pleasure over life itself. From there Freud thought of Death and Sexuality. As one theme interrupted and replaced the other, he associated the series Signorelli. Botticelli, Boltraffio, Trafoi and could not recollect the proper name. This is significant to me as it reveals unchallenged western prejudices about the East at the turn of the century.

2. Speechless’ blog stats page revealed that one of the referrers to the December 12, 2007 post entitled “Inuit Communities as the new DEW line: Camels in the Arctic” was also found under a search for categories under “forgetting” as part of the parent category TeachingLearningResearch. (https://oceanflynn.wordpress.com/category/teaching-learning-and-research/conceptsideas/forgetting/) It is also placed under categories of Memory Work, Risk Society, Social History Timeline, Social Justice, child poverty, climate change, ethics, forgetting, human agency, risk management, timelines, wealth disparities will intensify with tags: Arctic Adventures, benign colonialism, endangered, ethical topography of self and the Other, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Hudson’s Bay Company, Iqaluit, Jennifer Naglingniq, modernity, nasiq, Nunavut, Places on the Margins, self and identity, social exclusion, vulnerability to social exclusion.

This post was a comment submitted to Walrus Magazine article.

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