Transacting Memory in the Digital Age: Modernity, Fluidity and Immateriality
Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
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The incessant flow of content and data through digital platforms implicates humanity to immaterial modes of transacting identity and memory. Through the image of the “Napalm Girl” this paper traces the ways in which iconic images and memory can be remediated through social media platforms and algorithms. The re-contextualisation of history and memory through a technological gaze implicates us within new forms of vulnerabilities. By reviewing the politics of looking and watching online in digital platforms, the paper invites us to ponder over the flattening of memory and history through algorithms and a “digital morality” and “mortality” encoded through “user agreements” and “community standards”. The repressing of this moral gaze weaves us into a social media economy where morality and ethics are refashioned through a viral economy where images are circulated, altered and reframed through digital technologies. The wider implications of this “virality” for humanity, memory making and historicity are explored.