Media, Memory, and Representation in the Digital Age: Rebirth Reflecting on Lossless Imagery, Mediated Memories, and the Terrorist Attacks on 9/11


  • David R. Burns


In my paper, I explore the relationship between the media industry’s representation of important events and our personal and collective memories of these events. Through my investigation of what happens when an important personal and collective event is recorded to digital and neuronal memory systems, I examine the spaces between an individual’s personal memories of real-time events and media’s influence over an individual’s constructed memories of these events. With digital sequences of images being broadcast in real time across media outlets worldwide at the same time as important events unfold, an international consciousness is informed and influenced by these images both during and after these events. On 9/11, I watched the fall of the World Trade Center in New York City outside my apartment in lower Manhattan while simultaneously watching this tragic event digitally broadcast to my television in real time and, after over a decade of reflection, I examine the effects that the repeated broadcast of lossless digital imagery has on the individual and collective consciousness. Through my examination of my lossless digital media artwork, Rebirth, as a site of resistance, I argue that digital media art offers alternative perspectives to the hegemonic media industry’s dominance over memory formation.