Memory is strange to think about. When I think about what I remember, I start to wonder…is this actually a memory? I often realize that my mind plays tricks on me. I may think I remember something clearly, but soon find out that I actually remember the event because I saw a picture of it. Or I heard a story about it. I felt like I was a part of something, but then I realize that I actually never experienced it.
Bill Viola writes in “Will there be Condominiums in Data Space?” that memory gives us “highlights” of certain times in our lives. We have to fill in the spaces that exist in between those parts. We have to be creative, and practically shape our memory into the way we want it.
This is where I believe media comes in. TV shows, movies, newspapers, YouTube…they all give us that extra information that we need to fill in the gap. We can get online and see images, news stories, and videos instantly. Media makes these things a part of our memory, and we remember vividly since media surrounds our lives.
Take September 11, 2001, for example. I was in fourth grade at the time. I didn’t know what was going on and didn’t understand. I did not indulge myself with videos of the event, but the fact that the media constantly played and replayed footage from those attacks not only makes me remember the event, but I think it made it real and personal for every single individual who watched the footage. From then on, those events became part of our memory. It was inescapable. Sometimes, and in this example in particular, the fact we are intermingled with media on a constant basis can make people feel like they are reliving the event – causing psychological problems for certain individuals.
I feel like media does not always give us the big picture, which causes our memories to be shaped and sometimes biased. Viola writes about holism, and explains through an example of a jigsaw puzzle how important it is to look at the whole picture. He writes that examining the thing in its entirety can help us think from a different perspective and realize how things fit together. Do you think that media doesn’t allow us to truly understand why things are connected and related? Do you think that videos and TV shows make us want to piece things together instead of seeing the entire image? Could society manage to make a change so that people can see the whole picture?