While the idea of analyzing modern medieval media is far from new, our organization recognizes a difference from works existing prior to the Postmodern Era and works now bursting forth and away from the ideals of Postmodernism altogether. The Medieval Electronic Multimedia Organi-zation (MEMO) was officially founded in May, 2002 at the International Congress on Medieval Studies (Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michi-gan). MEMO was officially named during a dinner meeting, but the original members have been banding together for quite a few years. Prior to the official existence of MEMO —as several of us were e-mailing furiously to clarify what we were studying and planning to present at that year's International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo, Michigan)—we found ourselves plagued by internet inter-ruptions: worms, viruses, server meltdowns, and hard-drive crashes. We began to joke that Neo (of The Matrix films) was taking over and destroying our attempts at communi-cation via the internet.
Since then, Neo has become
a part of much of the humor in our discussion. And that brings us to the
humor in our term, Neomedievalism. Most of all, the character Neo represents
the Neomedievalist participant: from creating or watching digitalized medievalist films televistion programs, to creating or playing digitalized medievalist music, to "living" a second life in a medievalist universe in cyberspace. In Neomedi-evalism, Neo takes both the
blue pill and the red pill, allows his consciousness to become enveloped
within the realm of a defined medieval alternative reality while his body
remains safe and secure within the realm of what we know as human everyday
reality. But the line between realities is thin and transient, making
it increasingly difficult to determine which is the "true" reality. (In
this age of Special Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and String Theory, who
is to say what is and isn't real?) Neomedievalism, then, is an illusion
of reality that may or may not be also an illusion, but it is an illusion
of which we are aware of a sense of control.
Please also see our list of definitions.