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Memory Marathon

I spent most of the weekend at the Memory Marathon at the Serpentine Gallery in London, and now I am trying to remember what I saw on Saturday.

Luc Steels spoke about memories conceived for robots.

Ed Cooke talked about memory palaces, and that we should remember pins through the top of the tent, a man whipping a dog while playing the violin, a sandy beach, and an origami African grey parrot.

Mariana Castillo Deball showed how she has made paper squeezes of things like trees.

Marcus du Santoy's talk involved people trying to remember which squares were coloured, and that it was easier to remember them if you knew the pattern of numbers.

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, from the Oxford Internet Institute, talked about how the Internet makes forgetting harder. He showed the peak break-up times on Facebook. He suggested that we should have expiration dates for data.

Dennis Cooper's performance was creepy, but powerful. I have read some of Dennis Cooper's books, so was looking forward to it, and it didn't disappoint.

Sissel Tolaas talked about smell maps that she has made and also how she collects smells, and holds smell walks and workshops (particularly for children, who are less prejudiced against certain types of smells). She also had tried to make the smell of the Serpentine, which was then passed around for everyone to smell.

Michael Craig-Martin gave out 3D glasses and let people see 3D photos of China his father had taken in 1910.

John Giorno read some great poems. He also talked about how when JFK got shot, he and Andy Warhol ended up kissing. "Andy sucked my tongue. It had the sweet taste of kissing death. It was exhilarating. Like when you get kicked in the head and you see stars."

Douglas Coupland spoke about 9/10acillin that lets you forget about 9/11. He called it the "last undocumented mega event", as then people had camera phones and so on less than they do now. He also said that people from 2001 look the same as people from now, that all eras exist at once, and no particular look or style dominates. He said that we consume more culture than we create now, that people will look back on the past as an age of content and now as an age of devouring.

Planes were the last place with no Internet, but now you can use the internet on them.

He said that it was cruel to say to someone "I experience more time than you do".

"Knowing everything is boring."
"Once the Internet colonises your brain, you can't go back."
"I miss my pre-Internet brain."

He found that he was having difficulty typing on a normal keyboard and realised that is because he uses his thumbs so much when typing on his phone, and it's like the thumb typing part of his brain is taking over from the normal typing part.

"Your search history is the real you."

"It's better for the world to be inside downloading porn, than outside destroying stuff."

"Life is a metaphor for the Internet."

The slogans for the 21st century are on the Memory Marathon Blog.

Michael Stipe spoke next, and said that Doug had said to him:
"If you want to be remembered in 100 years, invent a hairstyle.

He also said that he passed a kidney stone, and took it to Doug's house to scan it.

Stipe also talked about his childhood.

The evening ended with a short by David Lynch.

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Thanks for sharing! Sounds like quite the evening!

Although planes are certainly not the last places with no internet. It may seem that way to city-dwellers....

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