Twilight Memories. Marking Time memory, its pervasive amnesia? several essays within Andreas Huyssen, After the Great Divide (Bloomington: Universi-. Huyssen, Andreas. Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia. New York: Routledge, pp. $ Scholars in the field of German are . In this new collection of essays on memory and amnesia in the postmodern world , cultural critic Andreas Huyssen considers how nationalism, literature, art.

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As generational memory begins to fade and ever later decades of this modern century par excellence are becoming history or myth to ever more people, such looking back and remembering has to confront some difficult problems of representation in its relationship to temporality and memory.

Human memory may well be an anthropological given, but closely tied as it is to the ways a culture constructs and lives its temporality, the forms of memory will take are invariably contingent and subject to change. Memory and representation, then, figure as key concerns at this fin de siecle when the twilight settles around the memories of this century and their carriers, with the memories of the holocaust survivors only being the most salient example in the public mind.

It does not require much theoretical sophistication to see that all representation—whether in language, narrative, image, or recorded sound—is based on memory.

Re -presentation always comes after, even though some media will try to provide us with the delusion of pure presence. But rather than leading us to some authentic origin or giving us verifiable access to the real, memory, even and especially in its belatedness, is itself based on representation. The past is not simply there in memory, but it must be articulated to become memory. The fissure that opens up nemories experiencing an event and remembering it in representation is unavoidable.

Rather than lamenting or ignoring it, this split should be understood as a ansreas stimulant for cultural and artistic creativity. At the other end of the Proustian experience, with that famous madeline, is the memory of childhood, not childhood itself…The temporal status of any act of memory is always the present and not, as some naive epistemology might have it, the past itself, even though all memory in some ineradicable sense is dependent on some past event or experience.


It is this tenuous fissure between past and present that constitutes memory, making it powerfully alive and distinct from the archive or any other mere system of storage and retrieval.

Andreas Huyssen “Twilight Memories” pt.1 | Sites of Memory

The twilight of memory, then, is not just the result of a somehow natural generational forgetting that could be counteracted through some form of a more reliable representation. Rather, it is given in the very structures of representation itself.

The obsessions with memory in contemporary culture must be read in terms of this double problematic. Twilight memories are both: Twilight is that moment of the day that foreshadows the night of forgetting, but that hkyssen to slow time itself, an in-between state in which the last light of the day may still play out its ultimate marvels.

Architecture itself has become ever more interested in site-memory and memorles inscribing temporal dimensions in spatial structures.

Sites of Memory

The work of both Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. In an age of emerging supranational structures, the problem of national identity is increasingly discussed in terms of cultural or collective memory rather than in terms of the assumed identity of nation and state.

Memory is no longer primarily a vital and energizing antidote to capitalist reification via the commodity form, a rejection of the iron cage homogeneity of an earlier culture industry and its consumer markets.

It rather represents an attempt to slow down information processing, to resist the dissolution of time in the synchronicity of the archive, to recover a mode of contemplation outside the universe of simulation and fast-speed information and cable networks, to claim some anchoring space in a world of puzzling and often threatening heterogeneity, qndreas, and twiligjt overload.

The evolution of postmodernism since the s is not understandable without an acknowledgment of how first it revitalized the impetus of the historical avant-garde and subsequently delivered that ethos up to a withering critique.


The debate about the avant-garde is indeed intimately linked to the debate about the museum, and both are at the core of what we call the postmodern.

Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia by Andreas Huyssen

Is it plausible to suggest that the highly individualized modernist epiphany as celebrated by Joyce, Hofmannsthal, Rilke, and Proust has become a publicly organized phenomenon in the postmodern culture of vanishing acts?

That, here too, modernism has invaded the everyday rather than having become obsolete? Objects of the past have always been pulled into the present via the gaze that hit them, and the irritation, the seduction, the secret they may hold is never only on the side of the object in some state of purity, as it were: In human culture, there is no such thing as the pristine object prior to representation.

After all, even the museum of old used strategies of selection and arrangement, [and] presentation…which were all nachtraglichbelated, reconstructive, at best approximating what was held to have been the real and often quite deliberately severed from its context. You are commenting using your WordPress.

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Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia

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