Keynote talk by Annie van den Oever
about archieves and media labs
“…that the past is not given, but must instead continually be re-constructed and re-presented” (Asrid Erll, 2008)
Memory is so much about the media, which express and disseminate contents of remembering. In our age of rapid changes, there are many ways to represent the memories. Archives, with and without a narrator, are tools for collective memories. We are recording visible and even non-visible data with the enabling technologies. The new technologies make the storage easily accessible and keep the cleanest archives because of its capacity of organisation and calculation make the fastest developments.
Even if Ernst insists on the epistemological nature of the media archaeologist as a reverse engineer (also literally, as elaborated later), his context for the ideas stems from a certain ontological understanding concerning technical media culture. In short, it is the calculation- and number logic–based ontology of technical (and especially computational) media through which cultural memory is articulated. This provides an alternative to the literary based narrativization that historians provide in their epistemological and ontological premises. Ernst’s position is aware of the materialist media grounding of contemporary archives that engage not only with images and sounds but nowadays increasingly with software-based cultural memory. The issue of digital memory is then less a matter of representation than of how to think through the algorithmic calculation– based ontology of a memory.
Kittler’s claim: technical media record not only meanings but also noise and the physicality of the world outside our human intentions or signifying structures.