Date of Award
Master of Arts in American Studies (MAST)
Electronic media allows for the repetition of the audiovisual in new contexts. Bernard Stiegler argues that, as people are exposed to these contexts (television, commercials), consumer-based art threatens the singular, a connection to a particular aesthetic in a particular space. When art is repeated, films remember for the audience. This allows for history to be continually re-written according to dominant media institutions.
While there are other ways to combat this grand narrative, I argue that there are memories that, like the singular, are not consumer-based. I refer to these as staple associative memories (SAMs). These are not memories of the audiovisual art but are associated with the social component attached to the viewing experience. Through the repetition of a temporal aesthetic, the narratives are expected, but the other elements or associations can create unexpected affectual memories. SAMs are valuable for increasing participation and for the creation of selfhood, but they are being threatened by the use of the sequel. I analyze Blade Runner 2049 as a representation of a sequel that reuses old scenes in new contexts. Because of the affectual elements of these scenes, the memory of the original viewing experience can be warped, changed, or forgotten. I finish by discussing the future of staple associative memories in the context of online streaming and augmented reality.