Rethinking Social Memory Dec. 5-6, 2014

If, as Émile Durkheim once stated, society is memory, changes in the dominant technologies of memory necessarily impact how we conceptualize sociality as such. In this two-day conference we take a media archeological approach to the question of memory and discuss the relation between technology and social ontology.

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

The archive is in motion, and with it our concepts of memory. Digital networks seem to privilege the notion of a living, operative memory over a memory of storage and safekeeping. This displacement of the traditional notion of the archive and its emphasis on that which is singular, original, authentic and worthy of care, transforms the criteria of sharing and access in ways that may have dramatic implications for how we understand social memory.

Rather than framing the tenets of such changes in terms of crisis and loss, we may choose to use them as pointers towards new modes of understanding “sharing”, “transfer”, “influence” and “contact” – in short, the vectors of collectivity and its forms of duration.

Accounting for social memory is then not a question of seeking out collective representations, but of tracing the events of association and the processes of individuation, differentiation and objectification that result from such events. This requires a mode of investigation that takes seriously the material specificity of the various technologies that shape contemporary memory and that approaches social relations in explicitly temporal terms.

For Rethinking Social Memory, the closing conference of the research project The Archive in Motion (AiM), we have invited a group of outstanding scholars from various fields to contribute to the development of a genealogy of modern and contemporary memory operations.

David Berry (Sussex) Ina Blom (AiM/Oslo) Wolfgang Ernst (Humboldt) 
Matthew Fuller (Goldsmiths) Liv Hausken (AiM/Oslo) 
Trond Lundemo (AiM/Stockholm) Sónia Matos  (Edinburgh) 
Jussi Parikka (Winchester) Eivind Røssaak (AiM / National Library of Norway) 
Olivier Surel (Paris) Tiziana Terranova (Napoli) Pasi Valiaho (Goldsmiths)

NB: changes have been made to the program on 4 December. Please download the updated RSM program folder (pdf) to read abstracts and full conference program. 

The conference is open to all interested, but requires registration. Register by paying the conference fee of NOK 200 here. Registration closed 1 December - contact coordinator if you didn't register but would like to attend. The fee covers lunch as well as hot and cold beverages. Please contact us about any dietary restrictions.  

Conference coordinator: Ellef Prestsæter,

The Archive in Motion (2011-2014) is a collaboration between the National Library of Norway, IFIKK – Department of Philosophy, Classics, and History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo, IMK – Department of Media Studies at the University of Oslo, and Department of Cinema Studies, Stockholm University. It is financed by The National Library of Norway and The Research Council of Norway.





Published June 26, 2014 3:26 PM - Last modified Dec. 4, 2014 10:35 AM