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ProseThetic Memories (2001), by Anne Brewster and Hazel Smith (text) and Roger Dean (sound, and text programming). Quicktime Realization by Roger Dean (2009).

ProseThetic Memories is a text written in Virtual Reality Modelling Language for presentation on a split screen. On one half of the screen the text scrolls in its entirety. On the other half of the screen the text is subject to VRML algorithmic processing. This programming, and the interaction between the two halves of the screen, simulates the action of memory. The correlated sound texture is either driven by a melody-generating program, written by Roger Dean, which presents simultaneous versions of each of three sonic melody lines, or it is performed. The events of one version find memories in that of its partner, and there are anticipations and overlaps within and between the melodies. Additionally or alternatively, performances involve improvised sonic textures.
     ProseThetic Memories is a collaborative, fictocritical and cross-genre text which combines prose, poetry, cultural theory and philosophy. It challenges traditional ideas about memory as a process of storage and subsequent retrieval. Instead memory is seen as a dynamic process, in which the present constantly transforms our impression of the past and vice versa. In this way the very division of time into discrete past and present components is called into question. Important to the genesis of the piece was Freud's notion of Nachtraglichkeit, "afterwardsness", the idea that what is continually rewrites what has been.The concept of prosthesis is also central to the piece because collaboration is itself a prosthetic process, involving the adoption of others' memories and preoccupations, and because memory is always collective as well as individual.
     VRML is by design an interactive language, in which the user (or performer) manipulates the display as it progresses. This piece was premiered in 2001 in Sydney, and subsequently performed in Canberra and at other venues until 2006, in an interactive manner. In 2009 we made a permanent version of the piece, intended for web/video viewing and listening and presented here in compressed Quicktime.

Note by Hazel Smith, Anne Brewster and Roger Dean.

View the piece. It lasts about13.5 min and the audio starts after1min.


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