RELATED TERMS: Remembering: Mnemonics, Mnemotechne and Memory

In the context of the design of narrative environments, technologies are understood to be interconnected systems, media or frames. At any one time, there is an accumulation or ecology of systems. Over time, within such ecologies, certain systemic media frames achieve dominance, while previously dominant systems become subordinate. They do not simply disappear, however.

Within these systemic media frames, individual technical artefacts act as a form of memory that constitutes the fabric of human historicity and sociality. They do so by providing the ground of that which is always already there for human beings or, in other words, that into which one has been thrown. In that sense, following Stiegler (1998), they are a kind of tertiary memory, a particular kind of mnemotechne that differs from secondary memory, such as writing and oral topical techniques (method of loci or method of topoi), as well as the primary memory of human recall as mnemne.

In another, related vocabulary, such systemic media frames might be said to constitute the (always already there) deictic centre or ground which orients relationships, as points of reference, to other people (subjects, subjectivity, intersubjectivity, subjecthood), things (objects, objectivity, objectification and intercorporeality), spatiality and temporality and sets the contextual horizons establishing relevant place.

Technicisation is, therefore, not what produces loss or a weakening of memory, a hypomnêsis, as is argued in Plato’s Phaedrus, but rather a different kind of remembering.

Stiegler (2009: 1-2) states that,

The Fault of Epimetheus was my attempt to show that this disorientation is originary, that humanity’s history is that of technics as a process of exteriorization in which technical evolution is dominated by tendencies that societies must perpetually negotiate. The “technical system” is constantly evolving and rendering the “other systems” that structure social cohesion null and void. Becoming technical is originarily a derivation: socio-genesis recapitulates techno genesis. Techno-genesis is structurally prior to socio-genesis — technics is invention, and invention is innovation — and the adjustment between technical evolution and social tradition always encounters moments of resistance, since technical change, to a greater or lesser extent, disrupts the familiar reference points of which all culture consists.”


Stiegler, B. (1998) Technics and Time 1: the fault of Epimetheus. Translated by R. Beardsworth and G. Collins. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Stiegler, B. (2009) Technics and time 2: disorientation. Translated by S. Barker. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.