The Necessary Lie: A Process of Mediated Memory by Jay Stern.
Abstract: The Necessary Lie: A Process of Mediated Memory by Jay Stern. In: Media Philosophy. Volume 8, 2003
Prompted by a family photograph taken in Latvia in 1905, the thesis examines the flawed process of narrative as a medium for experience. The mediated process of narrative is seen as inherently corrupting through its reduction of an experience to an enclosed story structure. This transformation is necessarily subject to falsehood, subjective deductions, alterations, bold omissions, dramatizations. In short, in attempting to convey a truth, one creates a lie.
The thesis explores how this falsehood of narrative, with all of its attenuate alterations and lies, is a necessary lie. In order to convey trauma, to depict the past as understandable, and to serve as a witness to experience, a construction of falsehoods may be better than any idealized objective "truth."
After a discussion of the crisis of witnessing, issues of trauma and memory, and the act of mediation, the author proposes a film project inspired by the Latvian photograph which will implement the idea of the necessary lie in an attempt to convey the unconveyable, and through mediation, "recover" something which in invariably lost to history, yet asserts the impossiblity of any definitive narrarive..