Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Letting Go and Forgetting in an Anxious World

I was drawn to the Barthes section on page 11 about forgetting and the Foucaultian discussion on the anxiety of our era related to time. It reminded me of my hard drive crashing a year ago. In that little box was housed all my files from high school to sophomore year at college, as well as all of my photography I had digitized for my portfolio. When the quote came back from the technicians that it would cost 1,000s of dollars to attempt to recover those files I knew it was over, I was forever separated from my early life work. The most interesting part of this whole experience was my great emotional distress. Was my work not worth 1,000s of dollars (yes), but this was entirely discomforting to realize. The only way to recover from my trauma was forgetting that those files existed and held my youthful ideas. Now a year later I have had the distance and time from the event to be completely recovered. I am actually comforted that those lost files are just faint glimmers in my mind because I do not have to deal with the material machine sitting on my shelf collecting dust, unused. Hard drives in themselves are interesting spaces in that they can be compact, personal, hidden and they hold the "fragments of something that has always been already read, seen, done, experienced" (Barthes, 20). I would like to explore that in the moment that files crash, we do not blame the machine, but ourselves. That the crashed files cannot be immediately dealt with in the present, but that the owner of those files need some time and distance from the event. Finally, why it is that with the appropriate time and distance any pain or anxiety is soothed by the fact that those files are out of our lives forever.

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