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A Lost Cause: Performance and the Free Speech Movement Digital Archive
March 4, 2009, 4:16 PM
Filed under: essay | Tags: , , , ,

Microsoft Word - MCGONIGAL ASTR 2003 A Lost Cause.rtf

written by Jane McGonigal

Is there room for dramatic improvement in the way digital archivists approach their art?  If so, how might performance intervene in the current Sisyphean struggle against digital decay?  In this paper, I take my cue from Peter Lunenfeld’s proposal in the introduction to The Digital Dialectic (1999): “Rather than thinking of the digital media and environments mentioned herein as though they possessed the stability of painting or architecture, better to embrace their mercurial qualities and conceptualize them as being somehow evanescent, like theatrical performances or dance.”  What would happen if we treated digital archives not as attempts at a permanent cultural record that bypass the messy organic difficulties and decay of hard-copy materiality, but rather as ephemeral objects that offer up opportunities for distinctly embodied and collective experiences? This paper addresses a range of theoretical complications that occurred when I attempted to transplant a performance studies approach to the theories and methods of archive practice.” 

read here

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