Our plastic brain: Remembering and forgetting art
Yeung, H. H.
Memory in the Twenty-First Century: New Critical Perspectives from the Arts, Humanities, and Sciences
276 - 279
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In What Should We Do With Our Brain? Catherine Malabou exposes a necessary dialectic at the foundation of neuroplasticity, where ‘the foundation of each identity is a kind of resilience […] a kind of contradictory construction, a synthesis of memory and forgetting, of the constitution and effacement of forms.’1 We meet again the inextricable figures of Memory, Mnemosyne, and Forgetting, Lesmosyne, and an acknowledgement of the importance to human identity formation of both memory and forgetting. It is my intention in this piece to investigate the importance of memory and of forgetting to the manner in which artistic forms have developed, particularly in relation to poetry and music and to what Malabou calls the ‘constitution and effacement of forms’. Our relation to artistic forms, we will discover, often runs in parallel to our memory-biases; many classical art forms foster memorialisation, and are prized, whereas innovative forms (or anti-forms), which encourage or investigate forgetting are more contentiously received, and often meet with critical resistance. © The Editor(s) 2016.