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Archive in Motion (AiM) (completed)

What happens to social memory when an older storage practice encounters a new media culture based on permanent transfer and immediate access?

Film roll. Photo.

Detail of Simon Starling’s Wilhelm Noack OHG, 2006. Stainless steel, film projector, 35mm film looped, light, sound. Making Worlds, 53rd Venice Biennale, 2009.

About the project

The Archive in Motion (AiM) investigated the ways in which archival concepts and practices have been transformed under the impact of the radical changes in writing and recording technologies that have taken place over the last century, and particularly with the introduction of digital technologies.

Film, video, television, sound recording and computers seem to have instigated a general storage-mania and a proliferation of both public and private archival practices. Yet these technologies also challenge traditional notions of the permanence and stability of the archival document and open onto a whole range of new questions concerning what exactly it means to store information for future use. 


The project relied on three research perspectives:

  1. The heterogeneous field named “social memory studies”.
  2. A media archaeological approach that studies the archival aspect of new media technologies.
  3. The emerging field named “media aesthetics”, which focuses on how media change is related to changing conditions of human perception and sensation.

Case studies

The project studied a series of precisely delimited empirical cases where the modern archive seems to reflect upon itself.

New Media and the Archive: The Case of the National Library in Norway

Yngvil Beyer

In this project Yngvil Beyer studied aspects concerning the problem of archiving new media objects, focusing on empirical examples from the web archive at the National Library in Norway.

Due to the new order of publication in the wake of the World Wide Web, new media objects come into the sphere of the archives. Beyer looked into the archiving of such material along contextual, technical and practical axes.

The Biometric Passport

Liv Hausken

As a record of our identities, nationalities and travel, passports function both practically and symbolically. The recent enterprise of biometric passports overlaps in striking ways with historical attempts at transforming photography into an efficient scientific instrument through archiving and databasing. 

Comparisons with these historical cases, where photography was put to use as a means for surveillance and control, and, infamously, as a means for eugenics, serve to anticipate societal, ethical, and legal aspects relating to emerging applied uses of biometric identification.

The aim of the project was to highlight the need for an equally careful functional and political analysis of the contemporary mobilized archival forms.

Videosociality and the New Concept of Social Memory

Ina Blom

This case investigated the hypotheses that the postwar introduction of broadcasting and the subsequent artistic appropriation of video technologies produced a wholly new mode of archival imagination.

To study early video art from an archival perspective is to see it as a pioneer site for the archival issues that confront common culture on a large scale today.

The Networked Document

Eivind Røssaak

This case contributed to the global effort to assess the challenge of archiving the processes and features of social websites by looking at the networking aspects of YouTube, the most important global platform for sharing audiovisual content on the web.

The radical dynamization of the context around audiovisual content published on social websites brings about a mobilization of the meaning and value of this content, as well as of the status of the archival document itself. The document is no longer an isolated text, image or video. Its qualities reside instead in the dynamic and reciprocal grinding of influences between several user-generated media-types upon another within an active graphical user interface. This dynamic constitutes the networked document.

Albert Kahn’s ‘Archives of the Planet’ and the Technical Inscription of Life Forms

Trond Lundemo

The French Jewish Banker Albert Kahn (1860-1940) created “les Archives de la planète” between 1912 and 1932 to make an ”inventory of the surface of the globe inhabited and developed by man as it presents itself at the start of the 20th Century”.

The Archives of the Planet is an outstanding case for the study of archival self-reflexivity, since Kahn set out not to collect existing films and footage, as is the case with almost all other film archives, but to chart social life forms through the means of film and color photography. This means that his documents were from the outset created according to a distinct set of archival principles and theories.

Kahn advocated a ’scientific’ approach that turned out to be a powerful principle for organizing the representation of the crowd and its relation to the single individual: here, the adaptation of the archive as a new form of social memory explicitly emerges as a form of management of social life. The technical media used by Kahn to chart a ’mode of life’ entail other concepts of the crowd, of reception and of social memory than those often associated with digital media.

This study approached the changes in social memory and archival techniques in the light of the archival mobilization that pertain to the Kahn archive in order to see how they may deepen our understanding of the contemporary management of life.


The project was a collaboration between:





Inaugural conference: Technologies of Memory

Time: Dec. 9, 2011. 
Place: The National Library of Norway.

For the inaugural conference of The Archive in Motion project, we took a look at the new technologies of memory and the questions of social life that they open onto.

See the full program (pdf).

Rethinking Social Memory

Time: Dec. 5.- 6. 2014.  
Place: The University of Oslo, Helga Engs hus.

In this two-day conference we took a media archeological approach to the question of memory and discussed the relation between technology and social ontology.


Publications 2016

Ina Blom, Trond Lundemo, Eivind Røssaak (eds.) Memory in Motion. Archives, Technology and the Social, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2016

Ina Blom, The Autobiography of Video. The Life and Times of a Memory Technology. New York: Sternberg Press, 2016

Publications 2013

Ina Blom: “The Autobiography of Video. Towards a Revisionist History of Video Art”.Critical Inquiry, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 276-295

Ina Blom: “Social Signals. On Aldo Tambellini”, Artforum International, vol. 51, nr. 15, s. 67-68

Ina Blom: “Weather Channel”. Artforum International, , vol. 52, no. 1, pp. 378-381

Ina Blom: “Becoming Video: Memory and the Prehension of Painting”. NJP Reader #4, pp. 21-34

Ina Blom: “Video, Autobiography and the Technologies of Self-Monitoring Life”. In Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism, Part Two, eds. Warren Neidich and Matteo Pasquinelli (Berlin: Archive Books), pp. 34-47

Publications 2012

Yngvil Beyer: “Using DiscoverText for Large Scale Twitter Harvesting”, Microform and Digitization Review, vol. 41, nr. 3

Yngvil Beyer: “Bevaring av film fra Internett”, NB21, no. 1, p. 55

Yngvil Beyer: “@jensstoltenberg talte til oss på Twitter”, in Viden i Spil, eds. Hans Jørn Nielsen et. al. (Frederiksberg: Forlaget Samfundsliteratur)

Ina Blom: “Inhabiting the Technosphere: Art and Technology beyond Technical Invention”. In Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Presenteds. Alexander Dumbadze and Suzanne Hudson (New York: Wiley-Blackwell)

Ina Blom: “The More Things Change: The Art of Roman Ondák”, Artforum International, vol. 50, no. 10, pp. 280–288

Ina Blom: “Muntadas's Mediascapes”. In Muntadas. Entre/Between, ed. Daina Augaitis, (Barcelona:  Actar), pp. 67–95

Trond Lundemo: “A Temporal Perspective: Jean Epstein’s Writings on Technics and Subjectivity”. In  Jean Epstein: Critical Essays and New Translations, eds.  Sarah Keller and Jason N. Paul (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press), pp. 207–225

Trond Lundemo: “Quoting Motion: The Frame, the Shot and Digital Video”. In Film, Art, New Media: The Museum Without Walls? Ed. Angela Dalle Vacche (London: Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 97–114

Trond Lundemo:  “Lost in Translation? On the Diverging Responses to the Question  Concerning Technology”, NECSUS European Journal of Media Studies, no.1

Trond Lundemo: “Conversion, Convergence, Conflation; Archival Networks in the Digital Turn”. In The Archive, eds. Alessandro Bordina, Sonia Campanini and Andrea Mariani (Udine: Università degli studi/Forum), pp. 177-182

Trond Lundemo: “Planetens arkiv i massens tidsalder”. In Norge i farger: Bilder fra Albert Kahns verdensarkiv, eds. Trond Bjorli and Kjetil Jacobsen (Oslo: Press forlag), pp. 217–230

Eivind Røssaak: “The Mediated City: Oslo or Los Angeles”, Wuxia, no 1/2, pp. 72–83  

Publications 2011

Ina Blom: “Moving Images and the New Collectivity,” in Between Stillness and Motion: Film, Photography, Algorithm, ed. Eivind Røssaak (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press), pp. 137–156

Ina Blom: “Spectacle versus Cinematographic Subject,” in Cognitive Architecture. From Biopolitics to Noopolitics, eds. D. Hauptmann and W. Neidich (Rotterdam: 010 Publishers), pp. 368–386

Ina Blom: “Videosociality: Rethinking Social Memory in 1970's Video Art,”, in Cornerstones, eds. J. A. Gaitan, N. Schafhausen and M. Szewczyk (New York: Sternberg Press), pp. 71–93

Liv Hausken: “Tverrfaglig Drama i Rettssalen Cross-disciplinary Drama in the Courtroom”, Kunstkritikk (September/November 2011)

Trond Lundemo: “The Archives of the Planet and Montage: The Movement of the Crowd and the Rhythm of Life,” in Between Stillness and Motion: Film, Photography, Algorithm, ed. Eivind Røssaak, (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press), pp. 205–222

Trond Lundemo: “Filmen och gesternas kartläggning,” Glänta 1, pp. 75–81.

Trond Lundemo:  “The Image at Work (On the Movement of the Body),” in Image at Work, ed. H. Holmberg and G. Zachia, (Stockholm: Oei editör), pp. 85–95

Trond Lundemo: “Manifestets projektioner,” FLM 12 (Stockholm), pp. 44–47

Eivind Røssaak: “Acts of Delay: The Play Between Stillness and Motion in Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son,” in Optic Antics: The Cinema of Ken Jacobs, eds. P. Arthur, D. James and M. Pierson (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 96–107

Eivind Røssaak: "Algorithmic Culture: Beyond the Photo/Film Divide," in Between Stillness and Motion: Film, Photography, Algorithm, ed. Eivind Røssaak (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press), pp. 187–203

Eivind Røssaak (ed.): Between Stillness and Motion: Film, Photography, Algorithms (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press)

Eivind Røssaak: "Billeddannelsens problem: Om Jan Knutzens essayfilmer," in Norsk avantgarde, eds. B. Børseth and P. Bäckström (Oslo: Novus forlag), pp. 213-227

Eivind Røssaak: "Filmens urbilder," Kunstkritikk (January)

Eivind Røssaak: "The Still/Moving Field: An Introduction," in Between Stillness and Motion: Film, Photography, Algorithm, ed. Eivind Røssaak (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press), pp. 11–24

Eivind Røssaak: "Teknikk og dannelse: Et forsøk på å analysere medieteknikker som en blindflekk innen dannelsestenkningen," in Dannelse: Tenkning, modning, refleksjon, eds. B. Hagtvet and G. Ognjenovic (Oslo: Dreyer), pp. 163-362

Book: The Archive in Motion (2010)

Eivind Røssaak (ed.): The Archive in Motion: New Conceptions of the Archive in Contemporary Thought and New Media Practices. Oslo: Novus Press, 2010

Free digital edition available here.

Published Aug. 24, 2020 11:20 AM - Last modified Jan. 26, 2021 2:53 PM


Ina Blom
Project leader