Our Memory of Things: a phenomemnemonics of the object

The blurb and an out-take from the book itself:

Using the insights and data of archaeology, art history, literature and psychology, social philosopher G.V. Loewen introduces the concept of ‘phenomemnemonics’, the phenomenological study of objects that are used to remember. Our recollection of things is by no means limited to their inherent or original use, form or period. Objects travel across space and time, and must be reinterpreted which each new encounter. The text asks who do we construct an artifact, what is authentic and what is spurious, in both culture and material culture? How is this reflected in our memory of ourselves and our lives? Indeed, he suggests that we live with things as one of them and that they are not ‘other’ to us in any meaningful sense.

That we appear to lack the sufficient control over life is only evident to us because we at the same time have paradoxically much more control than do the creatures and vegetation of this world. We know enough to know that we do not know enough. We live long enough to feel that we have not yet lived long enough. We are historical beings, but insofar as we cannot escape our own histories, we are as well ahistorical. We can recall ourselves to what has been our own, but we cannot re-collect all that has passed before us. Memory is ensconced in the world of things, and in order to be a thing in the world , we must remember what it is to be this or that thing, an object at hand, an objection to be made, an attempt at objectivity, or the pursuit of an objective. At the same time we are also a subjectivity, a subject for analysis, a subjection to forces other and alter to our own will, and a thing in ourselves. (from the book).

Cover image: the pedestal statue crowing Giacomo Bossi’s grave in Ross Bay Historic cemetery, Victoria, Canada. His house, built in 1885 still stands and is now a law office.