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Memory Images


text selected by Karen Di Franco

Wednesday 9 July, 7-8.30pm.

We will have read and will be discussing:


Bergsonian Difference’ from 'The Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution, and the Untimely', by Elizabeth Grosz text

and if you have time,

The Art of Memory in Greece: Memory and the Soul’ from 'The Art of Memory' by Frances Yates text

This session will consider the production of the memory image, as understood by Bergson and in the teachings of rhetoric in antiquity.

‘The strange inventiveness of Bergson’s conception of the relations between matter and memory, or, in more conventional philosophical terms, between body and mind, becomes apparent at the very opening of Matter and Memory. He defines matter, not in terms of substance or extension, as it has been generally understood in the Cartesian tradition, but in terms of images: matter is the ongoing production or profusion of images. The structure of matter is imagistic, which is not to claim that it is reduced to the imagistic perception of a subject (i.e., idealism) or that the image is necessarily or in any privileged manner visual. Matter is conceptualized as midway between the image, so central to idealism, and the object-in-itself, so central to materialism. Matter is an aggregate of images that occasion, in the presence of a perceiver, a series of multisensory perceptions, images capable of representation by many if not all of the senses and by other perceivers: ‘‘Matter, in our view, is an aggregate of ‘images.’ And by ‘image’ we mean a certain existence which is more than that which the idealist calls a representation, but less than that which the realist calls a thing—an existence placed half-way between the ‘thing’ and the ‘representation’ . . . the object exists in itself, and, on the other hand, the object is, in itself, pictorial, as we perceive it: the image it is, but a self-existing image’’ (mm 9–10).’




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