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Media and the Archive: New Concepts

Julia Noordegraaf (University of Amsterdam) and Wolfgang Ernst (Humboldt University of Berlin)

“Media and the Archive: New Concepts”

26 May 2011

Julia Noordegraaf: “Remembering the Past in the Dynarchive: The State of Knowledge in Digital Archives”

The proliferation of digital technologies has changed the way we perceive and use audiovisual archives and their holdings. Although the institutions still function as the principal gatekeepers – if only because of copyright restrictions – the emergence of virtual archives and online portals is changing the relation between the keepers and users of audiovisual heritage, challenging the role of the archivist as principal expert on the knowledge the collection represents. In this lecture I investigate the implications of these developments for the status of the (audiovisual) archive as a gatekeeper of knowledge. Based on an analysis of recent experiments with social tagging I argue that, even though these new forms of access change the type of knowledge associated with the archive, in fact digitization only exposes the archive’s inherently dynamic, performative nature.

The paper is followed by comment by Wolfgang Ernst with the title: “Speicher und Archiv versus Gedächtnis und Erinnerung? Eine medienarchäologische Perspektive.”


Julia Noordegraaf is Associate Professor in the department of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam and Programme Director of the international Master “Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image.” She was a fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study and is currently researching her new book Performing the Archive, on the impact of online archives and portals on the epistemology of the audiovisual archive.

Wolfgang Ernst ist Professor für Medientheorien im Fachgebiet Medienwissenschaft der Humboldt-Universität Berlin. Aktueller Forschungsschwerpunkt: Zeitweisen technischer, elektronischer und mathematisierter Medien. Publikationen: M.edium F.oucault. Weimarer Vorlesungen über Archive, Archäologie, Monumente und Medien (2000); Das Rumoren der Archive. Ordnung aus Unordnung (2002); Sammeln – Speichern – Er/zählen. Infrastrukturelle Konfigurationen des deutschen Gedächtnisses (2003); Das Gesetz des Gedächtnisses (2007).