IIb., Coherence over Correspondence: Subjectively biased Narrative

Psychological research suggests that within our autobiographical long-term memory, which is monitored by the self-memory system (Conway & Pleydell-Pearce 2000), in turn controlled by the working self, coherence takes precedence over correspondence (Conway 2005; Conway, Singer & Tagini 2004). This supports that our autobiographical long-term memory with which we construct and represent our personal identity is subjectively biased. For example, according to Conway (2005) we are likely to revisit the memories of an event that are motivated by the working self, i.e., recalling and consolidating memories that reflect the working self’s current values, which in turn forms the event into one’s desired version of it rather than a version that corresponds to a more general episodic memory, and a more objective reality, i.e., intersubjective.

Applied to our method of playing and replaying from memory, it can be suggested that out of the long-term memories that we form, e.g., our procedural memories, we remember that which we want to remember according to the working self, and that we fill in the gaps in our memories of our playing and replaying in order for us to create a narrative, which lets us comprehend what and how we played and replayed what we did.[1] The narrative supplements that which we played and grounds that which we replay in itself as would a music score determine a performance of it.

[1] This does not preclude negative memories from being desired by the working self, e.g., during a presentation of our research at our PhD-Seminar at Stockholm University of the Arts’ Research Centre, Filmhuset, Gärdet, October 22, 2021, Johan Jutterström remarked that he often remembers the negative aspects to his playing, which in turn is motivated by a traditional narrative of idealism and perfectionism in the jazz musician community, i.e., always strive to become better at what you do.

My reflection as a musical improviser and my experience of our method of playing, analysing, and replaying suggests that it is the analysis – in between playing and replaying – that allows us to grasp the forgetfulness, which is intrinsic to everything we do, and that we generate and are unconsciously exposed to as we are engaged in playing.

If we then have grasped the forgetfulness and located it within analysis, in between playing and replaying from memory, with which we account for our playing by way of a subjectively biased fictive, narrative due to the temporal deficiencies of short-term, working memory and consequently its inaptness to objective reflection in language: What is this forgetfulness then in relation to our research method, how can we articulate it, and how is it operative? This question leads us to the third category of the map: Forgetfulness.

In contemporary civilization where everything is standardized and where everything is repeated, the whole point is to forget in the space between an object and its duplication. If we didn't have this power of forgetfulness, if art today didn't help us to forget, we would be submerged, drowned under those avalanches of rigorously identical objects (For the Birds, 1981).  -John Cage