Announcing the 2022 NADD Research Residents
Following an open call for proposals, three projects have been selected for the 2022 Network Archives Design and Digital Culture (NADD) research residency. With this residency, NADD aims to explore the potential of decentralised structures for archival practices in design and digital culture. This year’s selected projects are Playable Archives by Sara Culmann, Diagrammatic Temporalities in Memory Landscapes by Maxigas, and How to Publish an Archive in Pluriform? by Outline. The residents will develop their research from September to November, with support from a number of NADD’s partner organisations.
The selection was made based on the advice of a jury consisting of Kirsten Algera (MacGuffin Magazine), Annet Dekker (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Eric Kluitenberg (Tactical Media Files) and Clara Stille-Haardt (Het Nieuwe Instituut). The three selected projects each adopt a different approach to distributed and decentralised archives, focusing on interaction with, tooling for, and publishing of archives respectively.
Playable Archives approaches archival material through the lens of a user who creates storylines through the course of their browsing journey. The project departs from an interest in personal moderation of visual culture and the traces of individual decisions. Drawing on approaches from game studies and mechanics used in role playing games, the project explores archives as pretexts for play. What if we consider the entire archive as a playing field? What if we turn all collected items into game assets? What if we dive into data as a game character? А candid character, a greedy character, a seducer, an appropriator, a provocateur or a successor? This approach opens pathways to make connections across and beyond individual archives.
How do economic and scientific changes give birth to mixed feelings of frustration and excitement, angst and hope? How does the development of knowledge convince us to make mistakes?
Sara Culmann is a visual artist, designer and researcher who graduated from the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Her research areas of interest include game studies, the semantics of digital tools and media, and historical parallels and intersections. In her work, she reflects on the existential impact of the cult of progress, scientific knowledge and information bias. She uses speculative narratives and works closely with cultural clichés, imprints and found content.
Diagrammatic Temporalities in Memory Landscapes
With Diagrammatic Temporalities in Memory Landscapes, Maxigas proposes to investigate the potential of version control systems like Git for archival practices in design and digital culture. Viewed as “change archives”, Git repositories account for the history of code in an infrastructural manner. Such systems are an integral, daily aspect in the process of software development; a process that is often decentralised and distributed. This project has the two-fold aim of developing a framework to understand source code in software repositories as digital material culture, and exploring the potential of distributed version control systems for decentralised, sustainable and accessible archives.
Maxigas (aka Peter Dunajcsik) is Senior Lecturer in the media department of the University of Amsterdam, combining teaching, sysadmin and research in the Critical Infrastructure Lab. His research focuses on social conflicts around media infrastructures, such as the next generation mobile telecommunications networks called 5G. His aim is to connect digital materialities with infrastructural ideologies, producing critical interventions in society and culture. His book, co-authored with Johan Söderberg, is published by MIT Press in autumn 2022, entitled: Resistance to the Current: The Dialectics of Hacking.
How to Publish an Archive in Pluriform?
How to Publish an Archive in Pluriform? extends an invitation into the process of making archives public. The project sets out to formulate a methodology that facilitates and stimulates an active, subjective engagement with archival objects. As such, it aims to develop a reusable tool. Through a series of encounters, conversations and exercises, the methodology will look into the ways an object situated in an archive could be unpacked through a collaborative process. Beyond a focus on the objects themselves, this offers a reflection on what decentralisation might mean for some of the wider institutional processes that archives are enmeshed in, such as selection, decision-making or access.
Outline is a floating collective and publishing platform for virtual, sonic and printed matter that aims to create interventions within intermediate spaces, to facilitate and accelerate an exchange by connecting ideas, artefacts, individuals and localities.
NADD Research Residency
The NADD research residency aims to explore the potential of decentralised structures for archival practices in design and digital culture. What might we learn by archiving these domains in decentralised and distributed ways? What tensions might such approaches uncover? And what challenges do they pose? Selected residents will each develop a project that addresses an aspect of these issues. Their research will bridge material from two or more different archives. The residency runs from September to November 2022, after which the outcomes of the projects will be published – in the first instance online, in the NADD web magazine.