Amnesia Raqs Media Collective

A state of forgetfulness unaware of itself and its own deficiency. True amnesia includes forgetting that one has forgotten all that has been forgotten. It is possible to assume memory, and act as if one remembers everything and still be an amnesiac. This is because aspects of that which is forgotten may no longer occupy even the outskirts of memory, leaving no lingering aftertaste or hovering anticipation of something naggingly amiss. The amnesiac is in solitary confinement, guarded by his own clones, yet secluded especially from himself.

Typically, forms of belonging and solidarity that rely on the categorical exclusion of a notional “other” to cement their constitutive bonds are instances of amnesia. They are premised on the forgetting of the many contrarian and crosscutting striations that go against the grain of the privileged solidarity of the moment. On particularly bad days, which may or may not have to do with lunar cycles, the hatred of the other rises like a tidal bore when one looks into a mirror and is unable to recognize one’s own image. Those unfaithful patches of self are then rendered as so much negative space, like holes in a mirror. Instead of being full to the brim with traces of the other, each of them is seen as a void, a wound in the self.

This void where the self-authenticated self lies in shadow, unable to recognize itself, is attributed to the contagious corrosiveness of the other. A lack of memory of the emptying out of the self by its own rage then becomes the ground from which amnesia assaults the world.

We forget how much we love those we injure. We forget how much we injure those we love. In trying to assert who we are we forget, most of all, who we are. And then we forget the forgetting.