Natasha Lushetich


Masaki Fujihata, BeHere, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2018. Source: Photo: Shuichi Fukuzawa. © Shuichi Fukuzawa

Cultural memory is often defined as that part of culture that cannot be transmitted by genes (Assman 2008). In oral cultures, important information is stored in finite human beings and doesn't exceed the capacity of the information carrier. In the digital era, information is stored on external mnemonic carriers with unlimited storing capacity, which raises the question of excess and proportion. Both differ vastly from the traditional ordering of the culturally ‘relevant’ versus the ‘less relevant’, based on the periodically revised/re-articulated canons/margins. In the second decade of the 21st century, two problems stand in the way of re-articulation: acceleration and retroversion. Due to the exponential growth of the informational mass and its instability, today, we are faced with drastic reversals that render formerly beneficial actions useless (Rothenberg 2010).Both past and present are indeterminate (Gustafsson 2010) while the future is increasingly seen as over-determined (Han 2017).

This paper interrogates the mutually configuring relationship of the universal and the particular, structural and idiosyncratic, standardised and accidental using Fujihata’s cultural-mnemonic project BeHere (2018-) which ‘resurrects’ the collective past of a Hong Kong district with the aid of ‘found’ personal images, randomly sampled from the internet and re-articulated through the use of augmented reality and photogrammetry. In querying the global informational-cultural enmeshment of public and private, purposefully preserved and accidental, and aligning Fujihata’s work with Nishida’s interexpression (1987) and Hansen's an-archive (2011), I examine the project’s mnemonic patterns in relation to a) semantics; b) individual assimilation of symbols via embodied interaction; and c) collectivisation via remediation.

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