[ISEA2011] Paper: David R. Burns – Dematerialization, Media, and Memory in the Digital Age


Dematerialization, media, and memory in the digital age explores the relationship between the media industry’s representation of important events and our personal and collective memories of these events.  The paper investigates what happens when an important personal and collective event is recorded to digital and neuronal memory systems.  The paper also examines the space between an individual’s personal memories of real-time events and media’s influence over an individual’s constructed memories of these events.  Because digital sequences of images are broadcast in real time to media outlets worldwide at the same time as important events unfold, an international consciousness is informed and influenced by these images both during and after these events.  On the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, my paper explores and illustrates the effects that the repeated broadcast of lossless imagery of the fall of the World Trade Center has on the individual and collective consciousness.

The paper presentation will also include screening the author’s abstract 3D computer animation.  The animation examines the author’s memory of the fall of the World Trade Center in New York City on 9/11.  On that day, the author watched the tragic events unfold outside his apartment in lower Manhattan while simultaneously watching the events broadcast digitally to his television in real time.  Screening the abstracted representation of this event to the conference participants opens up a dialogue between a newly formed collective memory of events and the author’s personal memory and representation of the fall of the World Trade Center in New York City.

  • Associate Professor David R. Burns takes an interdisciplinary approach to digital media art combining 3D computer modeling and animation, digital video, sound design, and physical computing to push the boundaries of artistic expression. David holds a MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons School of Design, New York, USA. David’s creative work has been internationally exhibited at art galleries, museums, film festivals, and public screenings.  Most notably, his digital media and animation work has been screened at the National Film Theater in London, the National Media Museum in England, the Red Stick International Animation Festival in Baton Rouge, the Chelsea Art Museum in New York City, the Athens Video Art Festival 2010 in Greece, Currents 2010 in Santa Fe, New Mexico and most recently at La Normandie et le Monde at the Musée des impressionnismes in France and at the National Center for Contemporary Art (NCCA) in St. Petersburg, Russia.  David’s research has been presented and published at numerous international conferences including ISEA and the Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA).  David is also co-authoring a chapter in  Fraggle Rock to Farscape:  Essays on the Worlds of Jim Henson forthcoming from McFarland in 2012. davidrburns.com

Full text (PDF) p. 293-298