2019, Sat, Mar 23

Piles of Files: The Infinite Archive

With Simon Reynolds, Elodie A. Roy, Pelle Snickars, moderated by Florian Sievers

Digitalization holds many promises: extensive accessibility, reactivation of dusty recordings and infinite storage options. The emerging platform technologies pose new challenges for institutional archives and collections. At the same time, however, the transition from collected objects to stored files also entails the random accumulation of masses of data and recycled audio culture, in principal retrievable anytime from streams and clouds. In future, the ascendance of past cultural- and knowledge production compared to those of today will become overwhelmingly large. But who listens to all of these MP3s? How do all of the archived fragments stay alive, how easy is it to locate them? What factors determine where attention is drawn? The constant expansion of online catalogs does not prevent oblivion and obsolescence. While ceaselessly renewed, digital archives erase themselves over and over. What effect does the encompassing concurrency in the “infinite archive” of the Internet have on our relations to cultural memory in general?

With Simon Reynolds (author, music journalist), Elodie A. Roy (Music and Cultural Studies, University of Newcastle) and Pelle Snickars (media scientist, Digital Humanities scholar, Umeå University)
Moderation: Florian Sievers