The Internet’s best and worst quality is its permanence; images, words, and sounds, which may have been lost to the perils of the physical, are now immortalized by the digital. While the durability of electronic information makes remembering easier, it also makes forgetting harder—which can prove troubling for those who want to bury the memory of that messy night everyone has seen on Facebook.
The London-based art triumvirate called Troika exploits this double-edged dynamic in their piece called Hardcoded Memory, which is on display at the Digital Museum in London until January 2013. Their installation assembles custom software, crystal lenses, and other tech-looking materials to create an imposing rectangular shape. The resulting form is eerie and metallic, and it uses light to project an out-of-focus image of a man with some old school digs and 19th century facial hair against a white wall.
Hardcoded Memory, by juxtaposing the old fashioned with current mediums, suggests that the past might not be so enchanting if it was as accessible as modern media—which means the rosy romance of hindsight is damned for present and fucked for the future.
But Troika’s piece fails to acknowledge that our memory keeps getting weaker, as we’re more and more confident that we can Google whatever we need to know and so no one commits anything to memory. (We’re sorry, Siri, we’re afraid we can’t do that).