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The dynamics of memory practices in science, politics and art

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Masato Fukushima
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This is a tentative translation of my experimental essay with the same title in Japanese, published in the online journal Synodos -https://synodos.jp/society/22693- on the occasion of the publication of our edited book (explained in the text) on how a variety of future discourses such as scientific prediction and various forecasting construct our society. The essay discusses a best selling sci-fi book, The Third Millennium(1985) about a thousand year's history from now on, past and future seen in the distinctive styles of imaginary architecture, and the way to go beyond the ongoing colonization of the future at present.
Masato Fukushima
added a research item
This is a short essayー related to the exhibition of Making Things Publicー discussing the consequences of the rather neglected aspect of the intra-conceptual heterogeneity within such terms as "representation" or "thing" that are easily lost in the process of inter-cultural translation.
Masato Fukushima
added 4 research items
The purpose of this article is to analyse the theoretical connotation of the idea of our digital body surviving the death of our natural body, advocated by such evangelists of digital afterlife as Bell and Gemmel. For this purpose, I will explore the seminal notion of ‘two bodies in one’ first analysed by Ernst Kantorowicz in his The King’s Two Bodies, which details the emergence of the legal concept by which the king has both a natural body and a mystical body (corpus mysticum) understood as the everlasting polity. To explore the possibility of applying this notion to ideas concerning the body in the digital era, I will elaborate on two additional concepts, namely, the concept of diarchy in traditional authority, as proposed by Rodney Needham, and Toyo Ito’s concept of the natural and digital body originating from his peculiar view of contemporary architecture. Through the method of abductive comparison, I will discuss the limitation of Bell and Gemmell’s concept of an everlasting digital body, and the intrinsic lack of institutionality upon which the very notion of the two bodies of the king relies. Finally, I will introduce the concept of the corpus mysticum digitale, a figure, which, in the time of the decline of the power of ritual, legitimises the dead as a collective entity that lives eternally, but anonymously. KEYWORDS: two bodies; ritual; Kantorowicz; virtual body; mystical body
This article provides a theoretical basis for reconsidering current discussions on the relation between the body, technology, and enhancement. Using the conceptual distinctions of model 1 (which is based on the notion of the unmediated body and technology) and model 2 (which begins with the techno-body complex) types of understanding of enhancement, and emphasizing a reappraisal of Vygotskian tradition for demarcating the role of mediating signs and tools in psychology, I compare two existing controversies regarding enhancement: the various disputes concerning technological enhancement in elite sports competition, and the recent controversy about using digital technology for memory enhancement. The framework used for this comparison is the concept of regime, consisting of the following layers of criteria: (1) the nature of each specific domain where enhancement is defined and measured, (2) the structure of agencies or institutions concerned with the issue, and (3) the underlying value that implicitly affords such an effort toward enhancing our capacity. With regard to the elite sports regime, the focus is rather tightly structured, whereas for memory enhancement, the controversy is diffuse and widely distributed. The sharp contrast in these two regimes is shown to be deeply related to the different types of understanding enhancement. In conclusion, this article suggests that the discussion on enhancement is a probe for the larger system of values, which inevitably forces us to reexamine our own values with the help of the tentative conceptual scheme provided herein.
This chapter reflects upon the various aspects of social memory in the context of cultural crises in the preceding chapters through the theoretical examination of the very meaning of "memory" that involves issues related to, say, embodiment, mediation through tools and signs, and memory and affordance perception etc. This chapter is also related to my following papers, such as "Corpus Mysticum Digitale", "Blade Runner and Memory Devices", and "Sick Bodies and the Political Body".