Shifting Powers: Digitality, Modularity and (Im)materiality in the 21st Century Post-Colonial Archive

Moschovi, Alexandra and Supartono, Alexander (2015) Shifting Powers: Digitality, Modularity and (Im)materiality in the 21st Century Post-Colonial Archive. In: Photography in the 21st Century: Art, Philosophy Technique, 5-6 June 2015, Central St. Martins, London.


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This paper seeks to explore the impact of digital
technologies upon the material, conceptual and
ideological premises of the archive, with specific
emphasis on the novel use and exhibition value of the
colonial archive in the era of Web 3.0. This analysis is
pursued though a discussion of the findings of an
international, multidisciplinary artist workshop in
Yogyakarta in Indonesia that used the digital colonial
archive to critically investigate the ways national,
transnational and personal history and memory in the
former colonies has been informed and shaped by the
colonial past. We specifically focus on how the artists’
employment of digital media contests and reconfigures
the use, truth value and power of the colonial archive as
an entity and institution. Case studies include: Thai
photographer Dow Wasiksiri, who questions the
archive’s mnemonic function by means of digital
manipulation; Malaysian artist Yee I-Lann, who adopts a
speculative photomontage to represent onto the same
picture plane different historical moments and colonial
narratives; and Indonesian photographer Agan Harahap,
who recomposes archival photographs into unlikely
juxtapositions. Recontextualised and repurposed
online on different platforms, their work becomes part
of the expanded post-colonial archive and proposes a
reframing not only of the politics of colonial
representation, but also of the validity and veracity of
the photographic image as evidence and historical
record. We also argue that the transition from the
material colonial archive of the 20th century to the
immaterial post-colonial archive of the 21st century also
makes possible a shift in power relations allowing
formerly colonised subjects to have unprecedented
access to and control over the representation of their

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: archive, digitisation, colonialism, postcolonialism, creative repurposing
Subjects: Fine Art > Art History
Fine Art > Art in Context
Photography > Digital Imaging
Fine Art > Digital Media
Photography > Documentary Photography
Culture > History and Politics
Photography > Photography
Fine Art
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries
Depositing User: Alexandra Moschovi
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2021 11:27
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2021 11:30
ORCID for Alexandra Moschovi: ORCID iD

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