PRINT May 1998

Mac to the Future

In France, where history, like God, is often written with a capital H, memory still has more to do with Proust’s Recherche than with RAM. With his CD-ROM Immemory (French/English, PC/Mac; forthcoming from Les Editions du Centre Pompidou), French filmmaker, video artist, photographer, writer, world traveler, and computer maven Chris Marker has essentially created a Mac/madeleine interface for navigating the facts and fictions of a past that is, as its title seems to imply, immemorial and yet impossible to recapture. Composed of fragments of Marker’s films, photo essays, and writings, as well as various artifacts from high art and mass culture (including his fifty- or sixty-year accumulation of snapshots, postcards, posters, theater tickets, and the like), the piece is divided into seven “zones”: Memory, War, Cinema, Photography, Travel, Museum, and Poetry.
Marker spent over three years assembling Immemory on his Mac (using the multimedia program HyperStudio), but clearly he’s been working on it for decades. In fact, this piece—unlike the “memory” of a computer—is not quantifiable. In this sense, its real medium is time, which Marker has shaped like a sculptor, orchestrated like a composer, staged like a director, and ultimately given over to his public in the most private of ways, like an individual confronted with his own mortality.

Miriam Rosen