Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Medienwissenschaft

Anne Kølbæk Iversen: Migratory Memories (Vortrag)

  • Wann 26.04.2017 von 18:00 bis 20:00
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I will present a reading of contemporary art works dealing with issues of memory with special attention to instances of migration.   

I am interested in the term migration because of its flexibility, describing at the same time the movement of physical objects, animals, humans, and of immaterial information or data from one location to another. It is said that migration has defined our age, perhaps more than any other single issue in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, which have been characterised by prolonged global mobility on a massive scale.

In our age of mobility, the practices of the archive, whose important task is to categorise and store materials in the right place, are undergoing change, whether institutionally, hermeneutically or technically. Arjun Appadurai has commented that moving images meet mobile audiences, following up this statement with his idea of diasporic archives:

“The newer forms of electronic archiving restore the deep link of the archive to popular memory and its practices, returning to the non-official actor the capability to choose the way in which traces and documents shall be formed into archives, whether at the level of the family, the neighbourhood, the community or other sorts of groupings outside the demography of the state.”( Arjun Appadurai, “Archive and Aspiration,” in Joke Brouwer & Arjen Mulder, Information is Alive (Rotterdam: V2/NAI 2002), p.18.)


When Danish artist, Katrine Dirckinck-Holmfeld looked into the archive of Armenian-Egyptian

photographer Armand, and was confronted with the many transformations and layers of information that had been put together, she realised that she could not just turn to ‘the thing itself’, to what we might call the pure archive: “When I went to Cairo, I thought I was making a film about memory, retrieving the memory of Philippe [son of Armand], but also of a whole period in Egypt's history, which to a certain extent is unavailable to the present. But it occurred to me that the project was becoming less about memory as storage, with or without access, but rather about memory as a process of re-materialization and migration.” (Katrine Dirckinck-Holmfeld, Time in the Making. Rehearsing Reparative Critical Practices, Ph.D.

Thesis (Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen, 2015), p.19.)


Wolfgang Ernst coins the term dynarchive to denote the condition of permanent change, constant updating and migration of contents in digital collections. He suggests that through the acceleration of data-storage and data-migration in the digital technologies (hardware and software) the traditional spatial and temporal difference between the archive and the present is erased. (Wolfgang Ernst, “Temporalizing the Present and Archiving Presence. The Impact of Time-Critical Media Technologies,” lecture given at Concordia University, Montreal (Canada), 2014.) 

I would like to inquire into how memory is addressed and produced within contemporary arts practices under these conditions of migration.