NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1918 __ « Ulysses » — VEGM
James (Augustine Aloysius) (1882-1941)
Comment : Bloom's idea for a funeral phonograph in James Joyce's Ulysses : « Kraahraark! Hellohellohello amawfullyglad kraaark awfully gladaseeragain hellohello amarawk kopthsth. » (. (Douglas Kahn)Ulysses is a novel by James Joyce, first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on February 2, 1922, in Paris. Ulysses chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, June 16, 1904. The title parallels and alludes to Odysseus (Latinised into Ulysses), the hero of Homer's Odyssey (e.g., the correspondences between Leopold Bloom and Odysseus, Molly Bloom and Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus and Telemachus). A Video-Enhanced Grave Marker (VEGM) is a Western-style tombstone equipped with weatherproofed video playback that would be initiated by remote control. Through sound and video, VEGMs would, in theory, make visits to graveyards an interactive experience. This idea is very similar to the 1981 science fiction short story “Walpurgisnacht” by Roger Zelazny, and the forward in the 1983 collection Unicorn Variations mentions an unexpected contemporary invention of a 'talking tombstone'. The 2004 film “The Final Cut” also features a similar idea, video-enhanced tombstones which play recordings extracted from memory chips implanted in the brain of the departed. Rudy Rucker has discussed a similar idea which he calls "lifeboxes," - devices that record information about people's lives and can carry on conversations after they die. James Joyce's 1904 novel Ulysses features Mr. Bloom contemplating an audio-only version of such a gravemarker. The VEGM, invented by Robert Barrows of San Mateo, California, would allow its owner to record messages to be played to loved ones or to any visitor to the site with a remote control. The stones would be equipped with weatherproofed video playback and recording devices plus memory systems and a television monitor placed within a weather-proofed, hollowed-out headstone. As of May 2005, Barrows estimated that the costs of the VEGMs might start at about USD$8000 to $10,000. (Compiled from various sources)
Original excerpt : « Episode 6 - Hades.[...] Besides how could you remember everybody? Eyes, walk, voice. Well, the voice, yes: gramophone. Have a gramophone in every grave or keep it in the house. After dinner on a Sunday. Put on poor old greatgrandfather. Kraahraark! Hellohellohello amawfullyglad kraark awfullygladaseeagain hellohello amawf krpthsth. Remind you of the voice like the photograph reminds you of the face. Otherwise you couldn't remember the face after fifteen years, say. [...] »
Source : Joyce, James (1922), "Ulysses", Episode 6 “Hades”, Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 106.
Urls : http://videoenhancedgravemarker.com/ (last visited ) http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4300/4300-h/4300-h.htm (last visited )

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