IIT Madras organises an international conference on "Memory Studies and Memory in a Digital Age".

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From August 23 to 25, 2022, the Centre for Memory Studies at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) will host the International Conference on “Memory in a Digital Age.” The conference is being run in a hybrid format with over 160 presenters from the UK, USA, Israel, Poland, Australia, and all throughout India.

Additionally, IIT Madras has partnered with the Delhi-based, entirely female-run Vizara Private Limited technology company to conduct research on digital humanities and heritage studies. Rebekah Vince of the Queen Mary University of London, Vishnu Sreekumar of the Memory and Neurodynamics Lab at IIIT Hyderabad, and Anupama Mallik, CEO of Vizara Technologies will give plenary presentations at the conference.
Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, minister of finance and human resources management for the Tamil Nadu government, officially opened the IIT-M conference today. He was joined by V Kamakoti, conference faculty coordinators Avishek Parui and Merin Simi Raj, and Jyotirmaya Tripathy, head of the department of humanities and social sciences at IIT Madras.

MemoryBytes app

The first AR-based mobile app, “MemoryBytes,” which documents the history and daily life of the transnational Anglo-Indian community for over 500 years, was also released at the conference. According to a release from IIT Madras, “the app will provide an interactive, animated, and augmented experience of images, maps, and archival documents during the physical-cum-digital exhibition hosted during the conference in the IC&SR Building.” “We are in the age of universal memory and so much common information is available to everybody, anytime,” Palanivel Thiaga Rajan stated in his opening remarks. The average person’s intellectual capacity has been significantly improved. We now live in a time of limitless external memory. However, there are problems with storage and retrieval engines.

These conferences are crucial because universal access has not yet been achieved despite the universalization of memory.

He also introduced the Conference Book and the MemoryBytes app, adding, “Tamil Nadu is among the top 3 states where we have implemented a computer in every MLA’s desk. Every single bill, debate, and budget will be made public so that MLAs can contribute to the debate and extract information in real-time without having to rely on the internal memory. “I am delighted to notice that an Institute with such a strong technological basis has such an interdisciplinary Center for Memory Studies researching on the interface of culture, history, heritage, and technology,” Palanivel Thiaga Rajan continued.

‘Campus Chronotopes,’ the first VR-based 360-degree stereoscopic video that uses omnidirectional cameras to capture the dynamic life and human-nature interfaces in the IIT Madras campus, will be produced after the conference. The history and journey of Anglo-Indian communities will be showcased in an AR-based physical and digital exhibit at the IIT Madras campus, directly illustrating the experience of memory in the digital age.

“Memory in the digital age is very crucial,” IIT Madras director V Kamakoti said as he welcomed the participants from India and abroad. When there are so many different digital forms, how can we store and manage them? There are various types of storage, and the programme must work across numerous platforms. As the number of data increases, we are considering various methods for data storage. There are undoubtedly numerous efforts being made in this direction. The conference will also showcase a number of breakthroughs in augmented reality and virtual reality. Participants can take part in them and learn from history and the past. Without a doubt, we will make significant investments in funding and research.

Avishek Parui, Conference Coordinator and Faculty, highlighted the main outcomes anticipated from this conference. “This conference exhibits the rich output and outreach of our Centre for Memory Studies in terms of international collaborations and world-class research at the interface of humanities, heritage, and technology,” he said. The famous trade town will be recreated and studied using AR and VR technology as part of the Center for Memory Studies’ ambitious “Re-membering Mamallapuram” project, which will support the organization’s efforts to research and re-present Indian history and heritage using theories of memory and technology.

Mayank Tewari

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