centralasian (centralasian) wrote,

"Everything from the book he reads to note he writes to the letter he receives is digitized and stored onto a hard disk. The number of images comes to one million. It ceaselessly transmits images, writes diaries, and pastes links to images and references. The entire house is becomes a memory medium and a device for remembrance. This is the Remembrance Home put into practice by Kaoru Misaki."

Так начинается статься про довольно нетривиального японца, построившего себе дом (=жизнь) для "работы памяти". Мне он немного напоминает меня, немного - urbansheep-a (хотя он может заплювать, в основном из-за отсылки к Мураками), немного - Любищева из гранинской "Этой странной жизни", немного - всех многих нас тут в жеже. Набокова с говорящей памятью тоже, конечно, и незабвенный (хе-хее) Mime. Memento, а тогда уж и целую пачку других фильмов "про память" (если прочтёте статью, напишите, что и кого он напомнил вам).

Статья вышла в июньском номере японского журнала AXIS (который в целом очень интересен, если не считать очень корявого перевода статей на английский). И который не удосуживается ничего выкладывать у себя на сайте, так что я - в полном соответствии с содержанием статьи - решил тогда её отсканировать и таки выложить тут.

Remembrance Home: Zipping through time, transcending past and futures
By Keiichiro Fujisaki, photos by Shinichi Ito
Axis, June 2006, pp142–146.

Remembrance Home stands in the area lines with detached houses, nearer the banks of the Tama River, in Komae City, Tokyo. The owner Kaoru Misaki showed me in and led me to the living room on the first floor. Everything in the house, even the exchange of the name cards, was special. Misaki took a photo of my card with a digital camera and handed it back to me. He didn't give me his name card. It was a little awkward putting my card back in the cardholder. I received an e-mail stating his contact information after I returned home. This was the Remembrance Home style of paperless name card exchange.

Misaki converts all paper materials into digital data. Each page of Misaki's books and magazines, as well as letter, notes, and fliers are scanned. First he reads a book in a book format, and then sends it to a specialist for scanning. In order to scan each page clearly, the book is unbound. The disassembled book is disposed of as recyclable garbage. If he is especially fond of the book, however, he buys another copy for scanning.

He also records daily scenes with digital camera. He takes an average 169 shows per day, which came to 50.000 photos last year. The total number of images combining scanned images and others including photos reached one million as of mid February 2006. It translates to 1.6 terabytes of data. Since he keeps a three-fold up backup, there are 4.5 terabytes of data stored in his hard disks. "The cost of scanning? Scanning an entire book costs considerable more than buying the book itself. I've paid about 10 million yen so far. There's no prospect so far of retrieving that investment."

Why go so far? Miskai is not a researcher belonging to a university or corporation. Although he calls himself a memory artist when he introduces himself his Remembrance Home, his profession is a freelance technical writer. He has written approximately 30 books. He writes 4,000 characters a day I his diary. He says that he is a hyper script junkie, which means he is addicted to writing massive amount of text.

He says he was inspired by a novel by Haruki Murakami. "There is a short story titled Poolside. It's about turning your life around at age 35. As it happens, I read it when I was 35, and I thought that I too should do something". That was 2000. Once he started, it didn't end as mere short story.

At the beginning he called in an information library, IT residence or cyber-home. But he changed it to Remembrance Home in 2003 and started publicizing it on the web and at such venues as exposition symposiums. He also unveiled it at an international academic conference in Vienna and the Architectural Institute of Japan.

Misaki says Remembrance Home is in its 2nd stage now. Stage 1 was the hardware setup and integrated the house with information devices and AV by installing such devices as a DVD player, game machine and amplifier under the floor, mechanizing them so that they would rise and lower, installing a display in the kitchen counter and hiding cables. He is placing focus on software and content creating in the second phase.

The subjects of Remembrance are mainly images and texts. "I'm often asked whether I do movies and sound, but if I were to install cameras and microphones, and record my actions for entire day it would take days to analyze the results. My life would consist of nothing more than attaching tags to information and compiling indexes. It would not be ready in time as I want to us it now.

Misaki also keeps a journal of the past. This journal is not for reminiscing about what happened that day, but for writing down and what he though and discovered by looking at the recorded material. For example, since Second Grader magazine that he used to read when he was eight years old was issued every month on the 2nd, he can almost pinpoint that he read it on that day unless it happened to fall on holiday or Sunday. He then writes the journal by consulting his elementary school class schedule and old references such as his old notes and diaries, In this manner he was able to retrace his past journal to age four. Naturally, he couldn't remember the entire year when he was four, but he managed to write about 30 days of it.

There are two displays on his work desk. The one on the left continually displays at random the one million images of books, photos, memos, letters, and diaries he has scanned. (ах, вот такая фенечка мне бы очень пригодилась; крутила бы мои 70.000 фотографий).

"When I'm writing the past journal it doesn't feel like 2006 but more like 1974. The consciousness of 'here and now' expands. The present ceases to be a moment and the time expands both towards the past and future."

Is he a man of extraordinary memory? Apparently not so. "As soon as I joined a company my colleagues gave me the nickname Abacus because I only handled situation by the moment, and did not remember anything. But today I think it's more sincere attitude towards one's life to let your mind react to things moment by moment rather than beleaguer your mind with detailed daily conventions."

The bookcase in the workplace before (left) and after scanning. Although various materials tended to accumulate due to the mature of his work, and the number of books seemed to increase endlessly owning to his voracious reading, the bookcase has now been transformed into display shelves. The remaining books will be scanned eventually.

I began to understand a little why Misaki is taking this as far as he does. "I want to conquer time". He is by no means making a treasure box to fill with nostalgic sentiments by digitizing his memory. The time traveler going back and forth over the hard disk keeps changing through his perspective the appearance of memory like a kaleidoscope. Retracing the past is to know omens of the future - Remembrance Home is a resident that creates memory.

A screen that describes the function of the SmartCalendar, which was also developed by Misaki. It is freeware, just like SmartWrite.
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