01/01/2009 Art Sociology
DOI: 10.1177/1750698008097391 SemanticScholar ID: 146318908 MAG: 2169785386

Editorial: Time. Matter. Multiplicity

Publication Summary

Although the study of memory would signifi cantly benefi t from the study of time and materiality and vice versa, there is currently very little scholarship that examines how memory, time and materiality interrelate. This special issue of Memory Studies aims at recovering this connection. From the very beginnings of modernity until the present the relation of time, matter or materiality, and memory has remained unsettled. While the mainstream memory studies (e.g. Gazzaniga, 2004) continue to build upon a muchcriticized spatial understanding of time (Middleton and Brown, 2005), constructivist, narrative and postmodern approaches to time and memory (Brockmeier, 1999, 2000, 2003; Gergen, 1993, 1999; Hasenfratz, 2003) disregard materiality, materialization and embodied aspects of temporal and memory-related phenomena (Haraway, 1991; Haraway, 1997; Latour, 1993). The above quotation from the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam (1891–1938) can be taken as a summary of a very complex dialectic of invention and remembrance that transcends the limitations of both natural-scientifi c and postmodern approaches to time and memory while pointing towards a study of the interrelation of time, memory and mattering. Mandelstam, much infl uenced by the First Russian Revolution and later – at the cost of his own life – strongly critical of Stalinism, radically redefi nes the relation between the past, present and future claiming that ‘yesterday has not yet been born’. This dialectic of invention and remembrance shapes Mandelstam’s work in accordance with his vision of history (Cavanagh, 1995). The past is not something that exists on an ideal level, it is not a ‘foreign country’ (Ingold, 1996: 200–48) ‘out-there’ (Law, 2004), neither is it an assemblage of experiences or qualities that are preserved, recombined and just carried further into the present (Stephenson and Papadopoulos, 2006); the past will be born, i.e. organized (Law, 1994), fabricated (Latour, 2005b), objectifi ed (Latour, 1994; Middleton et al., 2001), materialized (Haraway, 1997) and stabilized (Law, 1992; Middleton and Brown, 2005) in the future. Mandelstam’s vision belongs to the broader philosophic and aesthetic discourses of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that questioned the defi nition of history and tradition to theorize the essence of time and memory in radically new ways. Implicitly or

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Michalis Kontopodis

Prof. Michalis Kontopodis

University of Leeds - Chair in Global Childhood and Youth Studies

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