»Dont forget the Archive!« - Collecting Non-Archives for the Post-Media Condition (I)

:: workshop/roundtable : conceptualizing/co-programing/co-organizing [w/ Clemens Apprich] [1304]

(i): Georgios Makkas | Re-activation of Embros theatre
in Athens, Greece, Nov 2011 | CC by-nc-sa

concept note

The post-media condition is said to be characterised by a breakdown – if not a major reconfiguration – of mass media. ‘The archive’ is one of several major institutional figures that share its fate.

The Net, with all its grey and dark parts, may seem like the ultimate archive, yet it doesn’t adhere to any of the rules which structure – some would say enable – archivist practice in the first instance. And this is not to mention the archival hinterland existing on media devices and systems existing ‘beyond’ the Internet, which extend this landscape further into the realms of unpredictability, ungovernability, illegibility, chaos…

Networked media have dramatically expanded the resources available for the development of shared reference systems. Yet, when it comes to our ability to turn these systems into reliable ‘archives’, we find that these same media escalate infrastructural challenges to the point where they become impossible to meet.

Given the over-abundance of archiving possibilities in the present, we would argue that the primary forces troubling ‘the archive’ are volatility, real-time mediation and/or fictionalisation. We derive from these the following presuppositions:

1 – Media are everywhere and have entered our everyday practices. As social actors we live, move and position ourselves in a number of larger medial fields. At the same time, media perform functions as recording and storing mechanisms, which have the capacity – or at least the implicit effect – of documenting our activities and expressions in ever increasing ways and with ever increasing ease. In this situation, we experience the seduction of an archival infinity of sorts; the potential of archives existing all around us, all the time.

2 – Post-media collectives were never interested in institutional archives in the first place. Their interest is rather in collective forms of enunciation, the formulation of non-aligned perspectives; routing around the archive as a hegemonic repository and totem. The archive’s codification of a shared cultural symbolism may be shot through with an ethic of remembering, conserving and holding, but wherever groups engage in critical and reflexive social positioning, they attempt to cultivate memory not towards the utilitarian end of storing ‘information’ or administering ‘documents’; rather in the service of constructing new social norms, new valorisations, new cultural and political protocols.

3 – If ‘the archive’ is to be associated with the containerised and mechanistic realities of a dying medial environment, then it must be made into an object of contention. If, as it now seems, ‘the archive’ is to become an integral part of new forms of governance within the control society, then it must be critically reviewed by all those who engage with it – all those involved in the metapolitical project of reconstituting memory, and reference, to their own ends, or that of a different future.

For ‘Don’t Forget the Archives’, we are assembling projects which re-imagine the function formerly performed by ‘archives’. What was the archive in the first place and what, enlivened by the new patterns described above, can it be in the future-present? Everything is of interest: from deliberately non-archivable practices to ad-hoc and dangerous archives, to collections of tools and filters, archives of desire, imagination, enunciation and the never-achievable reconstruction of the ultimate, authoritative, comprehensive ‘cultural archive’. There is no list of criteria for entry into our temporary repository, as every post-media archive exists as a function of the endeavour it traces. We expecting anything, everything, nothing. This roundtable should be nothing more and nothing less than an attempt to investigate the arts of re-construction – of the embedded traces and shared resources of collective practice.


_ Donnerstag, 25. April

14:00 – Why Post-Medial Archives? An intro.

Oliver Lerone Schultz (PML/CDC, lerone.net)
 with Clemens Apprich (PML/CDC)


Rachel Baker (irational.org>): Archeology of an Artserver


Anthony Iles> (PML/MUTE): MayDay Rooms>

Simon Worthington (Hybrid Publishing Lab>/CDC): Live Archives


Micha Cardénas (transreal.org> (CDC/IOCOSE>): NoTube

_ Freitag, 26. April


Eric Kluitenberg> (Tactical Media Files>): [Tactical Media Files - A Living Archive?]


Renee Ridgway (n.e.w.s.>): re:search

Baruch Gottlieb> (transmediale>): What are we archiving for?


Felipe Fonseca (MetaReciclagem>): Mutirão da Gambiarra

Adnan Hadzi> (deckspace>)  FLOSSTV - Critical Video Editing


Robert Ochshorn>(Jan Van Eyck Academie): DeCompressing the Archive

Erling Björgvinsson> + Anders Høg Hansen> (Malmö University/MEDEA>): Living Archives & Archiving Bodies


Yuk Hui> (HPL/CDC) : Archivist Manifesto

Nishant Shah> (HPL/CDC) : Affect and the Impulse of Archiving