De-totalizing capture: on personal recording and archiving practices


Session Title:

  • Intangible Heritage

Presentation Title:

  • De-totalizing capture: on personal recording and archiving practices



  • (Long paper)

    Keywords: Recording, Archiving, Life-logging, Total Capture, Media Practices

    This paper serves as an overview of a part of the research conducted towards a PhD at the School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University in Sweden. In the context of the changing nature of the archive, big data exhaust and data surveillance, the research explores alternative and voluntary recording and archiving practices mapped among artists and media practitioners concerned with self-tracking and collecting personal data. Today’s media-scape presents recording and archiving as one of the major media practices performed by an increasingly growing number of people. Practically every personal digital device is equipped with some recording function allowing to capture and categorize texts, sound clips, images, video sequences, geographical location and increasingly bio-physiological processes. On the other hand, often without us being aware, the same technology passively tracks and records ever more detailed information about our behaviours, movements and decisions. As some scholars suggest, latest advancements in technology made the dreams of recording one’s whole life come true. This total capture becomes a condition that calls for reaction. In this paper I interrogate the idea of a passive and automatized capturing by confronting it with a concept of a reflective and proactive recording practice. As an exemplification of the latter I introduce a set of artistic practices I have been performing regularly since 2009. These practices aim at constructing a record of my life and the space I find myself in. Contesting the enthusiasm around the technologically enabled possibility of recording entirety of one’s life I argue that recording and archiving are generative and active processes requiring reflective and critical approach to media technologies that they inherently rely on.

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