Media | Arts | Politics

Archiving and Memory

by thenewobjective

Thank you to everyone who submitted to “Archiving and Memory.”  We’re very impressed by the quality and variety of submissions.  We aim to have all the submissions reviewed and critiqued and responded to by mid-July.  Until then.

CALL FOR PAPERS

by musiqwriter15

Archiving and Memory

At precisely the moment in which print and music become immaterial, and our access to content outpaces our ability to read or listen, the impulse becomes one of archiving.  We seek to control, rather than collect.  The paradox of infinite storage (alongside cloud computing) is that an individual can maintain a massive archive larger than many institutions of the past, and yet we don’t have the tools to properly extract information. Curating has become an invaluable skill. The archivist is the last refuge for the humanist, one who believes in the “civilizing powers of reading the right books,” as Sloterdijk puts it in his essay, “Rules for the Human Park” (2002). What have we given up in this turn? What sorts of artistic and scholarly approaches and methodologies are being employed to deal with this new relationship to “information”?

Is the promise of information and communication merely a smoke-screen for neo-liberalism, increased technologization, or a further example of the corporatization of the university? Does the discourse of immaterial labour further mystify and obscure the exploitative social relations capitalism is based upon, particularly the very material labour that supports our technological networks and devices? The core value seems to remain communication and information; a la Nietzsche, is there a virtue in forgetting? Are there artistic responses that make use of ephemerality or singularity?

We seek submissions that question the use of and materiality of the archive and the ways in which the act of archiving has the potential to change the meaning of works of art, information, or objects. What role does the archivist play? What questions should be asked of the curator? Can we locate the historical moment where this shift toward the past or archiving has taken place? What can be said about the contemporary state of cultural memory?

Papers may include but are not limited to the following:

–        the nature and meaning of the archive

–        the relationship between archive, culture and social change

–        gender, identity and sexuality

–        technology and media

–        art, art practices, curation and/or representation

–        queer and feminist theory

In Circulation is an interdisciplinary journal as such, we invite proposals from scholars, artists, researchers working in but not limited to: Communication Studies, Art History, Cultural Studies, English, Museum Studies, Library Sciences, History, and Philosophy.

Papers can be in English or French, and should include a 250-word abstract. Submissions should be in Chicago Style, and be formatted for blind review. We will accept .docx, .doc, .rtf, or pdf formats only. We accept both short pieces and longer articles, not to exceed 6,000 words. We also encourage art, multi-media or opinion-based submissions. Authors are responsible for clearing all copyright.

The deadline for submissions is May 15, 2012.

Please send your submissions as an e-mail attachment to incirculation@gmail.com. Any questions or inquiries should be sent to:

Cheryl Thompson (cheryl.thompson@mail.mcgill.ca)

Joseph Sannicandro (thenewobjective@gmail.com)

Alan Hui-Bon-Hoa (alan.hui-bon-hoa@mail.mcgill.ca)

________

APPEL AUX SOUMISSIONS

Les archives et la mémoire

Au moment précis où le mot imprimé et la musique deviennent des notions immatérielles, et notre accès au contenu dépasse largement notre habilité à lire et à écouter, nous sommes assaillis par une impulsion d’archiver. Nous recherchons le contrôle plutôt que le simple désir de collectionner. Le paradoxe du pouvoir infini d’entreposer (s’inscrivant au même niveau que l’informatique virtuelle ou cloud computing) reflète la possibilité qu’un individu puisse entretenir une archive plus importante encore que celles retrouvées en institutions. Malgré cela, nous n’avons toutefois pas les outils nécessaires à l’extraction proprement dite de l’information. La fonction de curateur est donc devenue indispensable. L’archiviste est, en quelque sorte, le dernier représentant de la ligné de l’humaniste, celui qui croit aux pouvoirs civilisateurs d’une lecture dite appropriée, selon Sloterdijk dans “Rules for the Human Park” (2002). Qu’avons-nous dû abandonner dans ce tournant? D’autre part, quelles sortes d’approches et de méthodologies à la fois artistiques et intellectuelles sont maintenant utilisées dans le récent traitement de l’information?

Est-ce que la promesse de la communication et du partage de l’information se définit comme un trompe-l’œil au service du néo-libéralisme, d’un recours incessant à la technologie, ou encore comme un exemple de la corporatisation de l’institution universitaire? Est-ce que le discours du labeur immatériel mystifies et obscures davantage les relations sociales qualifiées d’exploitantes sur lesquelles le capitalisme fût fondé, plus particulièrement ce même labeur matériel qui supporte gadgets et avancées technologiques? La valeur dominante demeure bien la communication et le partage de l’information. Prenant en considération Nietzsche, y a-t-il de la valeur dans l’acte d’oublier? Y a-t-il des réponses dites artistiques qui font usage de notions tel que l’éphémère et l’individualisme?

Nous recherchons donc des soumissions qui questionnent l’usage même et la nature tangible de l’archive, et de ce fait, des circonstances dans lesquelles l’action d’archiver possède le potentiel de modifier la signification d’œuvres d’art, d’information, ou d’objets. Quels rôles joue l’archiviste? Quelles sont les questions qu’un curateur doit se poser? Peut-on localiser le moment précis dans l’histoire où un retour sur le passé et un besoin d’archiver s’est fait sentir pour la première fois? Qu’en est-il de l’état de la mémoire culturelle d’aujourd’hui?

Les essais/articles doivent inclure, mais ne sont toutefois pas limités aux sujets suivants:

–         La nature et la signification de l’archive

–         La relation entre l’archive, la culture et les changements sociaux

–         L’identité et la sexualité

–         La technologie et les médias

–         L’art, les pratiques artistiques, la conservation et la représentation

–         Les études féministes et queer

In Circulation est une publication interdisciplinaire, nous encourageons donc des soumissions provenant d’artistes, d’étudiants et de chercheurs travaillant dans les domaines suivants : Études en communications, Histoire de l’art, Études culturelles, Anglais, Muséologie, Science de l’information et des bibliothèques, Histoire, Philosophie, etc.

Les essais peuvent être écrits en français ou en anglais et doivent inclure un résumé d’environ 250 mots. Les propositions doivent suivre le modèle de citation Chicago et de plus, être formatées afin de permettre des révisions anonymes. Nous acceptons seulement les fichiers en format .docx, .doc, .rtf et pdf. Les essais peuvent être soit courts ou longs, sans toutefois dépasser 6000 mots. Nous encourageons également les soumissions artistiques, multimédia ou encore les articles d’opinions. Chaque auteur est tenu responsable d’obtenir les droits d’auteurs appropriés.

La date limite de soumissions est le 15 mai 2012.

Veuillez s’il-vous-plaît envoyer vos soumissions en pièces jointes par courriel à l’adresse suivante: incirculation@gmail.com. Veuillez faire parvenir par courriel toutes questions ou commentaires à:

Cheryl Thompson (cheryl.thompson@mail.mcgill.ca)

Joseph Sannicandro (thenewobjective@gmail.com)

Alan Hui-Bon-Hoa (alan.hui-bon-hoa@mail.mcgill.ca)

“Bundled, Buried & Behind Closed Doors” @Rhizome

by thenewobjective

 

Rhizome  recently posted this fascinating short documentary on internet infrastructure.

Bundled, Buried & Behind Closed Doors is a short documentary explaining internet infrastructure, focusing on the art deco building 60 Hudson Street in Tribeca, which is now one of the most concentrated carrier hotels in the world. The internet has an “ironically very limited geography in terms of big strategic concentrations,” explains Stephen Graham, professor of cities and society, Newcastle University, in the short film. “The big affluent high tech information rich regions” is where the infrastructure is densely located. And 60 Hudson Street was especially ideal as a hub, given that the building was already designed to accommodate cables as it was first fitted for pneumatics tubes, then telegraph cables and telephone lines.

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The documentary does a fine job explaining the materiality of the internet, and the city as a site of circulation.  Communications infrastructures have often supported empires throughout history, and the concentration of the internet is no different. The material structure of the internet follows earlier infrastructure  just as telegraph and telephone lines followed the railways.  This calls to mind Harold Innis’ classic study The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History (1930), in which he re-narrates the history of Canada as being crucially influenced by the beaver pelt trade, its transportation lines, and indeed its borders, being influenced by the network of the fur trade.  I wonder if we can push the similarities further.  Innis’ narrative emphasizes the necessary contributions of the First Nations peoples in the fur trade, dependent as it was on their ability to hunt, make use of knowledge of the land, and use tool such as snow-shoes. Of course the new technologies and social structures of the European settlers (and the violence of colonization in general) proved to destabilize their society.  Whose labour is being exploited to run the material infrastructure of the internet?

Wu Ming, an Italian collective of collaborative novelists which grew out of the Luther Blisset project, recently published a blog post dealing with some of these issues.  “Fetishism of Digital Commodities and Hidden Exploitation: the Cases of Amazon and Apple” focuses on Amazon’s shipping warehouses, Apple’s factories in China, e-waste, and a refreshing reading of Marx.

Judging by online comments, many people were taken by surprise, finding out for the first time that Amazon is a mega-corporation and Jeff Bezos is a boss who – as bosses customarily do – seeks profits at the expenses of any consideration for dignity, justice, and safety.
As should have been suspected, Amazon’s “miracle” (super-discounts, ultra-quick shipping, “Long Tail”, a seemingly infinite catalogue) is based on the exploitation of workforce under vexatious, dangerous, humiliating conditions. Just like the Walmart “miracle”, Sergio Marchionne’s FIAT “miracle” or any other corporate “miracle” the media have dished up to us in recent years.

Read more

Courtesy of Retired Western Union Employees

Issue 1: Trans-Global Circulations, Fall 2011

by thenewobjective

(click to enlarge)

View Issue 1
Download (pdf) 

In Circulation: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Media | Arts | Politics
Department of Art History & Communication Studies

 



Editors
 Joseph Sannicandro, Cheryl L. Thompson

Assistants & Volunteers
Katherine Borlongan, Damien Charrieras, Will Lockett, Megan Mericle, Errol Salaman

Cover
Art: Franke James
Logo: Pia Ravi
Layout: Joseph Sannicandro

Credits and Acknowledgments

Special thanks to the faculty and staff of the department of Art History & Communication Studies atMcGillUniversity. Thanks to Greg Corey for help with the website, Pia Ravi for designing the logos, and Matt Depuis for technical help along the way.  Thanks also go to Caroline Bem, Rafico Ruiz, and Everett Wilson for their role in the earliest stages of this project.