Proposal for a revaluation of documentary practices
Misunderstanding the Internet as a huge archive of digital objects seems to be the smallest common denominator that could characterize the variety of different practices of data collection in networked environments.
Paradoxically, such a notion of networking as a means of "social" archiving appears as a machinery that tends to eliminate the traditional modes of the documentary by its very capacity to document anything and anybody, under all circumstances.
Common notions of archiving would have it capture and “fix” reality in order to re-access and replay it later on. A particular moment or site is isolated, stored, and reconstructed as an event in ways that produce plausible forms of truth — all with a degree of permanence beyond the contingencies of time and space.
However, such conventional approaches are doomed to failure in networked environments. When uncertainty is the precondition of any assertion and instability is the rule, we may have to rely on opposite strategies to produce, invent, and develop truth.
Merely capturing, freezing and preserving the data inherited from past occasions isn't enough; instead, they must be broken free and become fugitive. But what could this mean?
Florian Schneider (*1967 in München) is filmmaker, writer and curator. He teaches at the art academy in Trondheim. At the Jan van Eyck Akademie Maastricht, he is an advising researcher. At Goldmsmiths College, University of London he is currently working on a research project on "Imaginary property".