Digital Archives and Media Ecology

History is, after all, not merely the accumulation of fact, but an active
revisioning, a necessary corrective discourse, and fundamentally an act of interrogation—
not just of the facts, but of the displaced, the forgotten, the
disregarded.~ Siegfried Zielinski- Deep Time of the Media


Excerpted from the  “Archivist Manifesto” by Yuk Hui (2013)

  1. on the technological side, one should become archivist instead of users, and manage one’s own digital objects and data, in order to create personal archives; software developers should pay attention to the development of softwares for personal archives of digital objects. This includes indexation, annotation of digital objects and the portability of data and metadata from one individual archive to another archive or another system; these metadata and annotation can be used for search use.
  2. opening up institutional archives and allows self-archiving, meaning archivists can download these digital objects. Institutional archives can still keep their own objects in a single place, but if users can download, share and annotate their own collections, and then contribute their metadata to institutional archives, this will significantly vitalize archives and move further from the ambition of the moderns described by Foucault (e.g. decentralized archive).
  3. individual archives can share with each other. This may recall us of the early idea of Napster, an idea based on P2P sharing. But it is not exactly the same, since in the framework I proposed, at centre is not the question of exchange of good, but rather of care, of preserving and giving, to get away from the crowdsourcing logic and most importantly to imagine a technological humanism, as was once proposed by Gilbert Simondon.



“human individuality finds itself more and more disengaged from the technical function by the construction of technical individual – but it creates actually a malaise, because human, always searching to be technical individual, no longer has a stable place next to machine: he becomes servant of machine or organisers of technical ensemble” excerpted from Modes of Existence of the Technical Object by Gilbert Simondon



Sebastian Schmieg

Five Years Of Captured Captchas, leporello books, captcha archives, 2017

Networked Optimization, crowdsourced versions of popular self-help books, collaboration with Silvio Lorusso, 2013

Sebastian Schmieg - 56 Broken Kindle Screens

56 Broken Kindle Screens, print-on-demand paperback, e-book, collaboration with Silvio Lorusso, 2012

“56 Broken Kindle Screens” is a print on demand paperback that consists of found photos depicting broken Kindle screens. The Kindle is Amazon’s e-reading device which is by default connected to the company’s book store.
The book takes as its starting point the peculiar aesthetic of broken E Ink displays and serves as an examination into the reading device’s materiality. As the screens break, they become collages composed of different pages, cover illustrations and interface elements.” Sebastian Schmieg 2017

Media Archaeological Fundus, Berlin, Signal Lab, Berlin

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Troll Thread



“ is the digital media archive of social movements in Turkey. starting from Gezi resistance -Videoccupy archive- it aims to reveal the near history of Turkey with audio-visual recordings, documentations and testimonies. means ‘don’t look’ in Turkish.” is an open source archive that challenges notions of political spectatorship. By allowing anyone who wants to add to it, it allows subaltern communities to form parallel histories outside the mainframe of the state.



The project’s aim was to rescue acutely endangered audio and video footage by creating digital surrogates, to develop descriptive standards for audiovisual media, and establish an open database for media art and art documentation. In order to create a cost-​effective decentralized database, „” technology was based on open-​source software. Guidance in developing metadata profiles was provided by the project partner “Competence Center for Interoperable Metadata” of the University of Göttingen, who deliver nationwide certification for metadata applications. Through support of this project, and a long-​term cooperation with the Archive of the Hessian Broadcasting Corporation the documenta archiv was able to digitize nearly 650 of its most endangered audio-​visual materials and provide them with descriptive data, allowing for accessibility in the database. ADD DESCRIPTION


The SKOR Codex

by La Société Anonyme, 2012codex-open-4

The SKOR Codex is a printed book which will be sent to different locations on earth in the year 2012. It contains binary encoded image and sound files selected to portray the diversity of life and culture at the Foundation for Art and Public Domain (SKOR), and is intended for any intelligent terrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find it. The files are protected from bitrot, software decay and hardware failure via a transformation from magnetic transitions on a disk to ink on paper, safe for centuries. Instructions in a symbolic language explain the origin of the book and indicate how the content is to be decoded. La Société Anonyme noted that “the package will be encountered and the book decoded only if there will be advanced civilizations on earth in the far future. But the launching of this ‘bottle’ into the cosmic ‘ocean’ says something very hopeful about art on this planet.” Thus the record is best seen as a time capsule and a statement rather than an attempt to preserve SKOR for future art historians. The SKOR Codex is a project by La Société Anonyme.



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“On occasion of its 40th anniversary the documenta archiv participated in the research project “Vektor”, on databases and contemporary art, as part of the European Union sponsored program “Culture 2000“. As a result, the documenta archiv staged the exemplary exhibition “Wiedervorlage d5” (“Reenactment d5”), which partially reconstructed the documenta 5 of 1972 and its influence on curatorial practices using archival materials. As part of the exhibition 5 contemporary artists created a multimedia interactive learning lab, to demonstrate the function and purpose of art archives, their scientific usage and role within the field of art education. The project was awarded by UNESCO and declared “Official German Contribution to the International Year 2001 Dialog between Cultures”. ~ documenta archiv

Frequency. Scott Rettberg (2009).
A constrained writing project and poetry generator. Frequency is a program that recombines 2000 lines of poetry written using only the 200 most frequently-used words in the English language. The above-linked project is a demonstration set of 2000 generated poems, made for the 2009 Grand Text Auto exhibition at the Kraennert Center for Arts at the University of Illinois, Champaign. The poetry generator itself is a Ruby programthat runs from a terminal interface.

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