From Hackers & Designers
Name Un-archiving
Location Het Wilde Weg
Date 2023/07/21
Time 14:00-18:00
PeopleOrganisations Maddalena Ghiotto
Type HDSC2023
Web Yes
Print No
15 un archiving.jpg

Un-archiving is a child of the struggle for memory and the preservation of the present through reiteration and accumulation.

"Archives are as much places of dreams as they are places of documentation (and dust). In what ways, then, do we build our thoughts around our databases and algorithms as we experience our most complicating, profound hopes and despondencies? How do we acknowledge that so much of what we do comes from a sense of personal deficit, and in recognition that what we don’t have can still be given by us?"

—Carolyn Steedman (more or less)


Archives are the infrastructure of memory, hence they can be considered as an infrastructure of meaning. Ultimately, archives as a mean of world making.

"To materialize infrastructure is to act without weight and therefore gravity. It is a process that is clearly distinguished from the reality produced: a covert operation, not a result. And yet the devising and development of new systems might equally be seen as the devising and development of their standards, measures, and meanings and the principles of their provenance in which the restless, transformative, and connective work of infrastructure can be understood as a form of inventiveness and interpretive resourcefulness, too."

"Somewhere in the interstitial spaces of digital infrastructure, we might find another way of living"

Infrastructure is a generator of networks --> connections, links, power relations, infromation streams. There is social relational aspects of infrastructures.


As we are thought as digital humanists are the binary, technically structured data narratives, made of standards and pre-defined strict boundaries (ex. sql databases) --> replace them with a set of principles that allow for the discernment of conflicting, asymmetrical, and incomplete vantage points.

The historical limits of archival practices silencing identities, telling only some stories and omitting others. Unjust purposes underlying the birth of archival practices in the first place.

"Like the physical archive, information infrastructure is not innocent. It organizes attention, recommends how we enter a relation with knowledge, andstructures and provokes the repertoire of our thinking. An act of searching can’t be divorced from the tools we use and the intellectual environment thatinforms our investigation. And it is also borne out of diverse associations—imaginative acts that are no less real or important than the computational tech-niques or search aids we employ."


The intertwinement of archival practices and story-making is the central point of the workshop. The goal is to use our imaginative power to design the un-archive as a desired word, and to be able to write stories of how different entities could inhabit this unarchive. ++ complexity rather than order ++ accumulation rather than selection

"Digital archives do not just enable us to imagine what might have been; they offer a conceivable perspective on what might just be. In this way, digital infrastructure can open up new visions of the world in which we live and invite contemplation of the different ways we might live in it"

"The world we live in today is characterized by a new role for the imagination in social life… The image, the imagined, the imaginary—these are all terms that direct us to something critical and new in global processes: the imagination as a social practice… The imagination is now central to all forms of agency, is itself a global fact, and is the key component of the new global order (1996, p. 31)."


We will use twine non-linear storytelling tool as an imaginative and thinking aid, as well as a communicative aid to share with others in a fun interactive way. Generating an infrastructure as world-building, imagining different users experiences.


Hello, I'm Maddalena and I am currently attending the MA course in Digital Humanities and Digital Knowledge at Bologna University. Before that I studied literature and cinema.

I'm currently navigating in the intersections between Moving Image, Cultural Heritage, Semantic Web technologies and other digital wonders, all by trying to adopt a queer transfeminist perspective. I'm looking forward to hear your insights and suggestion about this workshop as it is in its developement process and I am also aiming at learning new tools and experiment more, in an horizontal way, rather than "delivering a lecture"! I hope it can be a fun time for everyone and an opportunity to collectively think about collective memory and what it means for us.


Explore some archives

https://cyberfeminismindex.com http://www.worlddreambank.org https://www.polyphonyproject.com https://www.memoriatrans.mx https://www.are.na/pwr-studio/memetic-design https://www.elinsulto.com (documents about sexual culture within circulation in Mexico on the twentieth century) https://www.are.na/michael-fowler-vmygfyqpzjm/mutant-on-mutant (archive of thesis references) https://axiatonal.tumblr.com (my now fairly disused tumblr blog, going back to 2009)