Technology of Memory: How We Remember and How We Forget

Professor Letty Chen presents lecture at the University of Hong Kong

The widespread use of the Internet has created a virtual space serving as a venue for ordinary Chinese citizens to post their own recollections of their experiences during the Mao era. Against this memory boom in China, I will set up the “occasion” for creating a new interpretive frame to explore tensions of different memories of a shared traumatic historical moment. I foreground this question: Who remember and why do they remember? Survivor-witnesses give their testimonies because the magnitude of the historical event reaches beyond those survivor-witnesses to many more who perished in the event. This makes their testimonies necessarily an act of ethical remembrance bound by heavy moral responsibility. How memory is utilized thus points to the technology and the ethical dimension of memory.