The gathering of collective memory. A pre-literate notion of memory, in a communal way, something commemorative rather than putting a memory in a container. What we thought it was going to be changed completely. We are in that way changing our memory of what it was supposed to be. What are you able to collect? Memories? Objects? People? A collection of texts and people, collecting and composing each other? Somehow it's not even important that we have all the knowledge, what's important is the living, generative sense of the collection.

multiplying form

Simon Browne

multiplying form

“Deadheads” recording a live Grateful Dead concert, 1972

see also bootlegging, diversifying through use, producing texts, republishing

The jam band The Grateful Dead were followed around the United States by a legion of die-hard fans, proclaiming themselves “Deadheads”. Cheaply available cassette recorders allowed them to tape concerts and then share recordings amongst each other. Thinking of this, I’m reminded of John Cage’s motto, “Everything you do is music, and everywhere is the best seat.” Each position in the audience produces a slightly different recording, and this multiplicity of form connects the audience not only with the music, but with each other.

There are files in the library that are of the same text, but they have travelled different paths to get there, accumulating difference through methods such as annotation and material transformation. And so, they have different materialities, lending weight to the argument that a text is not identical with itself; that there is no such thing as a unique, singular, original “work”, but instead many different versions of texts, born through the accidents of their creation.


Image: “Deadheads” in the taper section of a Grateful Dead concert, 1972