MIT 2000 Lecuture 1 - Textbook and Reading Notes

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Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 2000F/G
Daniel Robinson

Lecture One: S Memory “Memory Palace” -We’re better at memorizing things visually and spatially. -Visualize a room and situate the things you want to remember inside (childhood homes, interesting places you’ve been) -Doesn’t have to be a room, can be body parts... Memory: Spatial, Visual -The more bizarre, funnier the image is, the more likely you’ll remember it. -We can memorize a terrain better because of our ancestors who had to know where they were and where things are. -Good capacity to memorize faces as opposed to other things Epic Poems of Rajasthan -Bhapas: person who lives in Rajasthan in India. Society was not changed by colonial people -Epic poems that are thousands of stanzas long were committed to memory by the bhapas. -Poems weren’t written down until 1870’s. -Boys who were taught to read and write were less able to memorize the stanzas. Oral Society -Power of spoken word in these societies (illiterate societies) -No record of anything. Like events - they happen, then they’re gone. -Interlocutor: sustained thought linked to communication. Someone has to speak In order for knowledge to be created. -Aspects or oral tradition exist in a society like ours (in court, everything is spoken) Recall -Mnemonics and formulas- Something to aid the memory (rhyming, visualizations with pictures) -Serious thought had to be memorized and transferred down generations -You know what you can recall Oral Traditions -Rich in metaphor, multi-sensory, non linear creative thought, Homer -The Iliad/Odyssey were initially recited by memory. Homer was illiterate Oral Society -Middle aged texts were rhymed. Meant to be memorized. -Today we have much less need of memorization -Memorization was at the core of society, well being P. 5­9 Sounded Word as Power and Action • Primary Oral culture­ no knowledge of writing  • Words merely events – no visual representation • Sound exists only when its going out of existence­ evanescent • When I pronounce “permanence” by the time you get to “ence” the “perma” is gone • Cant stop sound – if you stop the movement of sound you have silence • This is how sound is different from other sensations, yes they all take place in time but no other  sensory field resists holding action (there’s no still shot in sound­ motion can be reduced to still  shots) (?) • Vision­ can be immobile • In Oral culture­ words have great power • Can touch buffalo, see buffalo, but if you hear it something is happening They also thought they had magical power • Think of names as conveying power over things • Without names cant understand things (i.e. chemistry) • Labels things for us as chirographic folk, but for oral folk name isn’t a tag –they have  no idea that name is something that can be seen­ written or printed words can be tags­  real/spoken words cannot be  You Know What You Can Recall: Mnemonics and Formulas • In oral culture­ restriction of words to sounds are also thought processes as well as modes of  expression • We an recall things (don’t have to know everything at one time­ same with oral culture  but..)­ oral has no texts  o If they think up something and find a solution they can recall it by think  memorable thoughts Have to think in mnemonic patterns (i.e. repetitions and alliterations)  Proverbs – constantly heard by everyone so that they can get recalled easily “red in the morning, the sailors warning; red in the night, the sailors delight”  culture with no knowledge of writing/pos
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