• Menu (use the pictures!)

    Untitled Document

    » Introduction

    Sharing social memories
    Locating memories
    The reality of memories
    Controlling our remembering

    » Conclusion

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Introduction: mediated memories

Memories are mediated. All memories are mediated, actually. Without mediation, we would have no memories. Even when we simply remember some event from our childhood, we frame our memories in words, images, language and so on. And remembering on a social level makes even more obvious that all memories are mediated. We recollect with our friends and family through the use of pictures, movies, or particular objects. On a collective and national level we recall historical events via newspapers, museums, archives and films. We need media not only to be able to share memories, but even to have them. Instead of saying that “in order to be mediated, memory should be materialised either in material objects or in particular embodiments or images” (Võsu, Kõresaar, & Kuutma, 2008, p. 255), it is more accurate to claim that memory has to be mediated in order to exist.

When we bear this importance of mediation in mind, it is actually strange to see how many scholars are engaged in memory studies, and how few of them have focused on the medium instead of on memory itself. Already in the 1960s McLuhan (2001) asserted that “the medium is the message”, which means no less than that the medium should be studied in order to understand its message – or in this case – memory. In this project we will be looking at the special qualities of a medium that mediates as well personal as familial as national as historical as political memories: the museum. The museum is a “public open space[s] where memory is explored, produced and performed with the help of new media technologies” (Assmann 1999 in Võsu et al., 2008, p. 256). In order to understand the ways in which the museum is its message, the central question in this project is:

Which specific qualities does the physical museum have on the one hand and the virtual museum on the other, and how do these qualities form the collective memories that the Armenian genocide Museum and Institute (AGMI) passes on via either the one or the other medium?

In order to answer this question we will relate our own experiences of the physical and virtual museum to relevant theories of literary critics and social scientists. We decided to share the outcomes of these thoughts via different posts on this weblog. Each post deals with a specific quality of the physical and virtual museum. Feel free to decide yourself which quality of the Armenian genocide museum you are most interested in and which one you would like to start with. If you are not that familiar with the topic yet, we recommend you to start with some small elaboration on how museums relate the past to the present. Anyway, don’t forget to write down your comments before you leave our website!

For some help and additional explanation, see our about / help page!

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About this website / help!

Thanks for visiting our weblog!

As you may have read in our introduction, this website has a specific function; to compare two mediations of the Armenian genocide. The physical museum/memorial Tsitsernakaberd in Yerevan, Armenia on the one hand, and the ‘same’ virtual museum/memorial on this website.

There are some things you should know before navigating our blog. Some tips on how to use it, but also some information on which choices we made in the process of constructing it.

The most important of all choices we made for this website, is to construct it in the form of a blog (or ‘weblog’). While we are presenting an academic analysis and comparison – or so we believe – this specific form (or mediation, if you will) forces the contents of this website to change as well. A nice example of how the medium shapes the message. This has a number of implications that we’ll explain below.

First of all, we’ve tried to adapt our ‘academic’ writing style to a style more native to ‘blogging’. In our experience, this meant writing “can’t” instead of “cannot”, “we’re” instead of “we are”, and “shouldn’t” instead of “should not”, to name just a few examples. In other words, we’ve adapted our style of writing to a somewhat more informal form of English.

More importantly, a blog doesn’t adhere to the same ‘linear’ structure as a scientific journal article or book. First, a visitor can find our blog on Google, and potentially access it at any random point. Second, a blog is ordered on a post-by-post basis; not built step by step with each successive article or chapter. This means that each post should be a short ‘story’ on its own – not necessarily a part of the greater overarching argument.

We took this last point quite seriously, and decided to structure our blog according to a ‘discussion logic’. One of us would write something based on one ‘theme’ (or ‘category’), and the other would respond. There is no ordering of our posts on this blog other than chronology.

To make things a little easier for the visitor of our blog, we ordered our posts into four categories, represented by the photographs on the left. Hovering over these photographs with the mouse pointer provides the visitor with the title of the ‘theme’ in a tooltip. Each theme subsequently has two posts (one from Inge, one from Jeroen); the oldest post is displayed on the bottom, the newest on top (as is customary on blogs).

We decided not to bore our visitors with an excessive amount of background information on the Armenian genocide. We’re on the internet here. Find it yourself. Allright, a little help then – Wikipedia is a fairly good place to start looking for background info.

Finally, be sure to leave some comments here and there – a ‘real’ blog lives on comments from its visitors!

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