RENEW 2013

The 5th International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology

Riga / October 8 – 11, 2013

"Archiving" Participants


Speculative archiving. On piratical ethics and shelf corpses.


Panel:Panel A


Venue:Stockholm School of Economics, Soros Auditorium

Following Alfred North Whitehead, “the speculative reason is in its essence untrammelled by method. Its function is to pierce into the general reasons beyond limited reasons, to understand all methods as coordinated in a nature of things only to be grasped by transcending all method.” *
Its goal is to spur creative thinking in the face of emerging and previously unmet challenges. The field of archiving Media Art therefore presents a paradigmatic case for a speculative approach.

Based on our vast knowledge of failure and a lack of adequate solutions, Speculative Archiving is positioned as an anti-method method that thinks beyond the limitations of tradition and disciplines. It starts by understanding a work of art as an ever ongoing process and qualifies artistic re/production and radical modifications as legitimate ways of contributing new aspects to the discourse of archiving Media Art. Rather than in deep storage, solutions for sustainability seem to be provided by the network, in which artistic practices of hacking, remixing and Open Culture, of versions, appropriation and wild dissemination – in short, of piratical ethics – are creating novel perspectives on digital originals and mutant life forms on a daily basis. The archive no longer is a passive place, but has become a hyperactive non-space.

In this presentation, an autopsy of Media Art database archives of the early 2000s is contrasted with piratical strategies of collecting and disseminating.

  • Alfred North Whitehead. The Function of Reason. Boston: Beacon Press, 1929. 65.

Nina Wenhart is a media art historian and independent researcher with a special focus on digital archiving. She has been working in this field for many years, including the Ars Electronica Futurelab, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Media.Art.Research and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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