Jacek Smolicki

Malmö University

Datascapes, from archives to mediated memory environments

The study is located in the area of media and communication studies. The main matter of interest of this research thesis is to look at how the ever growing accessibility to variety of new media tools and specifically portable recording devices and locative media affect practices of documenting, archiving and reflecting upon the archived material in techno‐culturally transient and precarious contexts. Subsequently, the implications of new media, archival tools and new archival practices will be analysed in relation to culture and memory both on micro and macro levels. Through a theoretical and critical reflection informed by concepts and theories originated in the field of media and communications, new media studies, locative media, art and design theory as well as an equally significant series of practice-driven processes, this study will aim at expanding and redefining the notions of archive and archiving practice. The conventional definition of archive understood as a politically curated, static repository of historical documents will be challenged by an attempt to look at archive as a living, dynamic and critical memory environment. Media ecology perspectives argue that media technologies can not be studied as time‐space autonomous phenomena, but rather as interlinked systems affording and constraining communication of knowledge of the here and now and across time. Similarly, memory has to be understood as not only linked to the space and time, but to its forms of representation constituted by the technological condition of the time. Possible two first chapters of the dissertation might relate to media ecology and memory. This dissertation will also address the need of conceptualizing new ways of preserving and transmitting the knowledge, understood not as a static snapshot, but a set of actualities and potentialities originated in the past and producing future sets of conditions highly dependent on the media environment of the time. Main research questions are how to archive, preserve and communicate what is invisible and resistant to conventional methods of mediating? What is that resists being captured and archived? How can new media, its pervasive nature and portability contribute to the creation of space for performing memory? What could be the role of art and design in this redefinition of the archive? Methodological perspective to be included and questioned focuses on mobile media methods, methods coming from the material turn in media studies and variations of ethnographic studies. Within the course of my studies, I plan to develop several space‐specific initiatives which might result in an emergence of archival practices, new forms of archives, or conditions opening the space for personal, embodied / embedded remembrance. Each of these practices will inform the main problematics of the thesis.