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Art of the Archive Workshop

May 21, 2015 @ 9:30 am - 5:30 pm

Art of the Archive

Date & Time: May 21, 2015 from 9:30 am – 5:15 pm

Location: King Hall 2100A, UC Davis


The archive is in flux. The proliferation of born-digital objects and digitized materials opens up new modes of curation, circulation, and scholarly communication. This presents opportunities and challenges for scholars, artists, and publics for assembling, making accessible, decolonizing, and appropriating.

Digital platforms for curating and publishing cultural heritage and expressive culture—art, music, video, performance, sound—promise new collaborative forms, creating new relationships between producers and publics. Furthermore, archives and databases raise questions of ownership and control over knowledge–including decolonizing ethnographic collections and developing traditional knowledge licensing.

Our workshop will examine the digital archive and database in terms of the aesthetics and politics of curation. We will bring together perspectives from the humanities, arts, and social sciences to address the challenges and possibilities for an emerging art of the archive.

Topics that we will explore include:

  • How publics are being reimagined and remade in the creation of archives and databases.
  • How the archive is in movement–less as a storage “place” but rather a network and a mode of reassembly and circulation.
  • The ways poetics and aesthetics of data collections are shaping access, use and reappropriation.
  • What types of academic credit, recognition, or assessment making online platforms, exhibitions, and data publications might receive.
  • How temporality emerges as archives of and for the future and the “way back” are imagined and constructed.



9-9:30 Coffee and Continental Breakfast

9:30-9:45 Welcoming Remarks

9:45-11am Publics: Decolonization, Local Practices, Social Movements

Jane Anderson (NYU) Decolonial Futures for Ethnographic Collections?
Allison Fish (UC Davis) Techno-legal Renderings of South Asian Classical Medicine
Ramesh Srinivasan (UCLA) Fragment and Re-assembling: Digital Cultures of Resistance
Moderator: Marisol de la Cadena (UC Davis)

11-11:15 Break

11:15-12:30 pm Curation: Aesthetics, Ethics, Poetics                            

Tarek Elhaik (San Francisco State University) Curator: A Conceptual Persona
Erica Farmer (Smithsonian Institution) Between promise and practicality: Balancing interests and responsibilities around sensitive archival collections at the Smithsonian Institution  
Ilana Gershon (Indiana University, Bloomington) Formatted Out of Work in the U.S.: Hiring in the Digital Age
Moderator: Joshua Kim

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-2:30 Resisting Presentism: Ethics and Evolving Archives

Rick Prelinger (UC Santa Cruz) Filling the Teleological Vacuum: Archives as Actionable Spaces
Mary Murrell (University of Wisconsin, Madison) Mass Digitization, Orphan Works, and the Ethics of Recirculation

2:30-3:45: In Motion: Circulating, Opening, Re-Spatializing                

Nathalie Casemajor (Université du Québec en Outaouais) The Metrics of Archives in Movement
Alessandro Delfanti (UC Davis) Beams of Particles and Papers: Archives in High-Energy Physics
Xan Chacko & May Ee Wong (UC Davis) Archives of Risk
Moderator: Mario Biagioli (UC Davis)

3:45-4:00 Break

4:00-5:15 In the Making: Craft, Collaboration, Credit

Kim Christen Withey (Washington State University) The Ethics of Aesthetics: Archives and Access in the Digital Landscape
Alexandra Lippman (UC Davis) Archiving Sound: Craft and Collaboration in Listening
Alexis Rossi (Internet Archive)
Moderator: Brad Sherman (The University of Queensland)


May 21, 2015
9:30 am - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


King Hall 2100A
Davis, CA + Google Map