Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Time Indefinite: Memories embedded into technology

While I was watching this film, I was struck by Ross McElwee’s compulsive obsession to film every aspect of his life. As demonstrated by the filming of his brother shaving in front of a mirror 12 years ago to his sister giving him advice after a break-up, he uses film to transverse time. By playing back his old footage, he allows viewers to travel into his past with him as he narrates different memories he has. His obsession to film seems to suggest his dependence on technology to capture seemingly everyday moments in his life. He relies on it to help him remember moments in his life, such as his post-baptism moments with his mother. Yet, as demonstrated with his battery dying after his wedding announcement, technology still has a funny way of failing him. He was obsessed with finding a new battery to document this, but wouldn’t his natural perception and memory of the event be sufficient? He does not think so. I feel like his obsession to film indicates a dependence on technology to record what he goes through on a daily basis, everyday memories from his point of view. His memories are embedded in his film, and his past is intertwined with a tainted reliving of a memory. The camera is the self-created barrier that prevents him from experiencing the beauty of natural memory.

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Blogger Felix said...

While the camera does create some sort of barrier that prevents him from using his natural memory, I would have to say that he still uses his natural memory to an extent. While the use of the camera does seem to be detrimental to his life, I would have to acknowledge that it is a very important aid as well. Our natural memories can only hold so much before we forget.

I also couldn't help but think that him filming his whole life reminded me of a reality show. Go figure.

2/14/2007 12:04 AM  

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