Nostalgia and the Collapse of Imagination - JOSHUA SARINANA

Some interesting thoughts for me to process throughout this module as I'm not really sure where they come into what I'm looking at but perhaps just to store for my future research.


"Nostalgia is inseparable from the past, and the past is represented as memory. Autobiographical memories are established in the hippocampus and form through the creation of new connections between brain cells, or neurons. New connections change the activity of the hippocampus, and the new activity represents a novel memory that occurred in the past.
The hippocampus is not only important for making new memories, but it is also necessary for imagining possible events. If someone with hippocampal damage looks at a picture and is asked to describe that picture, they can do this without any problems. However, if asked what could exist outside the frame, that person is unable to provide any imagined scenarios. Similarly, hippocampal damage also affects the ability to imagine future possibilities. Imagination is the basis of memory and future planning."

This caught my eye whilst I was looking into how memories are formed. It interests me that people can use photography to remember, but is it the actual event they are remembering or a version of the event?

Sarinana goes on to talk about the modern day snapshot - the space on the cloud or the mobile phone where people store these memories. We have been talking a great deal about social media presence during this module. Instagram in particular plays a huge part in how photographers are to market themselves. I still find it fascinating though that people will use a modern day device and then use a filter on it to make it look like it was taken on a certain type of film 20 years ago. 

"Our perception of the past is filtered as much as our perception of the future. The mobile screen is the most popular media interface, and photographs serve as social currency. Because mobile photography is everywhere and enmeshed with rapid technological progress, it is precisely this progress that allows photography to alter our sense of space-time more so than any other artistic medium. Thus, the retro-filter serves as the most influential mediator of social media and has the greatest affect on how we perceive of past, present, and future."

Is this real? – Joshua Sariñana

"With technological growth, digital filters have come, in part, to represent nostalgia. The ubiquitous use of digital nostalgic imagery represents our need to control our perception of time. The compulsion to filter the presentation of time is a short-term solution for a long-term problem. Every photo implies the past, but it is necessary to use the past as a way to guide us towards the future and not as a place to find refuge from the unknown. If we are to transcend the distraction of pseudo-nostalgia, it will be necessary to imagine photography outside the realm of the past."


Joshua Sariñana. (2017). Nostalgia and the Collapse of Imagination. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 Oct. 2017].