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Analog Amnesia in the Digital Age


Analog Amnesia in the Digital Age

Huggins, Julia (2016) Analog Amnesia in the Digital Age. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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A culturally and historically particular understanding of modern memory underscores ongoing popular debates concerning the status of human memory in the digital age. In an era circumscribed by anxiety around the extent to which digital technologies are eroding the boundaries of the human, this thesis argues that a bifurcated model of memory has emerged. This is to say that our understanding of human memory in the digital age has splintered along technological lines; on one hand, a model of technologically mediated memory associated with digital technologies and, on the other, a kind of subconscious embodied memory aligned with the human in its ‘natural’ state. Such a scenario insists on the distinction between the conscious memories we preserve through external technologies and the dormant memories housed in the depths of our psyches, which are imagined to be less amenable to technological intervention. We can observe this bifurcated model of memory at work in cinematic representations of amnesia in many recent Hollywood films, though this thesis will focus on Peter Segal’s 50 First Dates (2004) as a case study. Firstly, I examine how this dyadic model of memory emerges from the film’s nostalgic privileging of analog technologies, by virtue of their connection to the human body, as opposed to digital technologies, which are regarded more apprehensively due to their alienation from the body. Secondly, I work through the broader significance of this twofold model of memory for contemporary debates around authorship and the domains of private and public (virtual) space. Ultimately, through a symptomatic analysis of the intersecting functions of memory, technology, and intimacy in 50 First Dates, this project endeavours to demonstrate how this dyadic model of memory informs and is informed by discourses around what it means to be human in the digital age.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Huggins, Julia
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Film Studies
Date:July 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Caminati, Luca
ID Code:981484
Deposited On:07 Nov 2016 14:47
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:53
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