Personal, international, memory-surface, memory-traces, symbols, linking chaos, perception and creativity
?Specific events have a vividness which imprints them so strongly on the memory that they can later be used as models for other events which are like them in some w
ay. Thus in each specific event, there is the germ of a whol class of si
Page 352 ?Bach, Escher
, Godel - An eternal Golden Briad? - Do
uglas R. Hofstadter
The container is a
n internationally transportable space. When moving from country to country, across borders, states, languages, experiences; everything is contained in this space to be re-opened and re-contextualised at it?s destination. This space can contain someone?s whole life.
It is one person?s intimate world, their ?collected things?.The container is a transportable database of experience, a module, a backup; to be moved internationally.The container can be seen as one consciousness a collection of experiences and learnt symbolswhich allow new environments to be succesfully navigated.
When we experience environments, our consciousness interprets them in relation to our prior experience. Old patterns we have learnt interact with the new ones to allow a personal interpretation of events witnessed. In his book Mechanism of Mind, Debono explains,
?It shows that the old patterns can actually determine how the new ones are reviewed. This can mean that new information may only be received in terms of the old patterns... The general effect is to define, amplify, build up and establish fixed patterns out of information. This effect is achieved by allowing incoming information to organize itself, and by allowing already established patterns to guide this organization.?
Page 64 ?Mechanism of Mind? - Debono
He also talks of a ?special memory-surface? which has influenced the development of the theory for this installation proposal. He developes a system for our mind, allowing interpretation of the present from past experience.
?With the special memory-surface, the fact that selection takes place at all depends on the organization of the system. The selection itself is not fixed but depends on the past experience of the surface. Thus it is a self-selecting system in that the accumulation of past information comes to select the new information.?
Page 93 ?Mechanism of Mind? - Debono
So we see through the memories of what we have already seen. As our mind collects interpretations of the world, they stick as general representations or ?symbols? to be used when we see similar things again. These general representations are cross refrenced and linked in fluid ways when we use them again. There is a messyness here. All the mess and junk that make up a person a process. A human transportable mess, physically taken by sea to new places.
?It is quite likely that the great efficiency of the brain is not due to its being a brilliant computer. The efficiency of the brain is probably due to its being a bad memory-surface. One could almost say that the function of mind is mistake.? -
Page 56 ?Mechanism of Mind? - Debono
The structure here is one of chaos, mistake, leading to free association, to creativity. Our mind like the internet is a mess and tangle of links allowing for free association of linked memory traces . The creative process is an extreme of this, a very messy association process.
?Overlapping and completely tangled symbols are probably the rule, so that each neuron, far from being a member of a unique symbol, is probably a funcioning part of hundreds of symbols. . . . .?
Page 356 .?Bach, Escher, Godel - An eternal Golden Briad? Douglas R. Hofstadter
So when we call up symbols we call up a whole range of associated memories that lie close by to the one we need, causing a creative association to what we interpret, allowing us to interpret events in our own particular personal way, and react as such.
?Just as objects in the world always exist in a context of other objects, so symbols are always connected to a constellation of other symbols.? Page-359 ?Bach, Escher, Godel - An eternal Golden Briad?
Douglas R. Hofstadter
It is interesting to explore also how this could be interpreted as a stubborness in our minds, almost a lazyness which restricts us from trully percieving situations, and stepping out of ingrained ways of thinking. It takes great effort to avoid not just labelling something we percieve. To develop new symbols we need to make a concious effort,
?We do not have a separate instance symbol for each nose, mustache, grain of salt, etc. that we have ever seen. We let class symbols take care of such numerous items, and when we pass people on the street who have mustaches, we somehow just activate the ýmustacheţ class symbol, without minting fresh instance symbols, unless we scrutinize them carefully.?-
Page354-?Bach, Escher, Godel - An eternal Golden Briad? - Douglas R. Hofstadter
However, there are advantages to breaking the world we percieve down into sets of symbols
?The great advantage of breaking things down into separate fragments is that the fragments have a great mobility. They can be moved around in a way that would never be possible with the whole picture. Language works because it consists of mobile fragments that can be strung together in different ways. Mathematics, science and measurement are all based on the same fragmenting process. This, then, is another tremendous advantage of the limited attention span that is a natural feature of the special memory-surface. The disadvantage is that the fragments become fixed and rigid, and since they may no longer be the most convenient fragments (though they may have been at one time) this can block the development of new ways of looking at a situation.
? Page 92 ?Mechanism of Mind? - Debono
Each time a person enters the space, the container is reacting to their prescence, triggering memories to enable it to percieve and interpret each person. As if everytime you enter the container you trigger off a multitude of reactions from itÝs database, it is live, witnessing you. The container will be a sort of visual artificial intelligence with an ephemeral database of visual representations of emotions, moods, atmospheres, thoughts, concepts.
The act of walking through the space can be seen as a meandering over the memory-surface of the container. This is similar to the way a person would step through their database of experiences to interpret a situation. This is similar to what the situationists call a ?derive? - an aimless wandering allowing associations to push and pull one through an environment triggering associations and memories. This can be interpreted as a metaphor for such things as the branching of creative processes, or the fluid messy network of the internet.
Each person that experiences this environment will interpret it for themselves. They will select different ?areas? of the matrix that they prefer, they will re-map the containers memories. This can be recorded and mapped and logged to enable analysis of how different people navigate the abstract links between the content (this mapping could be linked to the web as mapped datacharts). It will explore how people navigate a database and make abstract links and associations between content as they organise the containers memories. Each person will take part in generating a sort of meta-memory-surface, mapping their own memory surface on-top of the one placed rigidly inside the container, reacting to the containers memory of reactions and choosing areas they prefer over others.
The container can also be understood as a schema, a way of mapping chapters, of placing content into sections. When folded out it forms many shapes, and combinations of constraining 2-d spaces which when numberd can cause the walls to be read in many different sequences. Not only is the container a 3dimensional restriction, but when flattened out becomes a 2 dimensional mapping device to organise content and begin to place facets of a complex system such as a database of someoneÝs experiences. This relationship between 2d and 3d is perfect to explore the science and poetry of the memory surface.