Monday, March 24, 2014

How do we make the past visible?

Thoughts on media historiography generated by making a documentary and attending some great conference panels:

Visualizing the media archive and historiography...There will always be logistical roadblocks to accessing artifacts (images, documents, film, video)—but what do we do once we get them? From newly indexed collections in brick and mortar archives, to “official” digital sources like the Media History Library, to so many Tumblr streams, there is an expanding universe of historical artifacts that we can access. What do we do with those artifacts once we copy, photograph, or download them? What are different ways of organizing those artifacts, not just to manage them, but “see them” in ways that stimulate the making of connections? How do we publicly (or not so publicly?) share them to see them in different ways? How, then, do we make the past visible in the scholarly products we produce? Let's avoid the also-always-present institutional and legal hurdles, to consider possibilities for making the archive publicly visible. What models (from online interactive projects to long-form documentaries) should we embrace in a world where we can do much more than publish an article with the single best photo we think helps us “see the past”?