Collection: Archive as Artwork

This Collection of works from the Rhizome Artbase brings together web archives that highlight a range of artistic approaches to the question of cultivating social memory, of and with the internet.

Digital culture, as Richard Rinehart and Jon Ippolito point out, involves shifts in what social groups remember. A wide range of new kinds of web-specific cultural practices (link curation, vlogging, web searches), introducing the need for new kinds of archives. At the same time, the process of social memory is itself shifting. Social memory often takes place on social media platforms and in other informal online settings, outside of traditional memory institutions.

Several of the artists in this Collection collect, catalog, and curate as a way of performing individual identity, as in Dina Kelberman's stream-of-consciousness image search blog I'm Google. Others create and perform archives in order to foster group identity and build solidarity, as in the Instagram account @veteranas_and_rucas, an archive of 1990s Southern California Chicana life.

The works can be understood as responses to the practices of formal memory institutions. They call attention to materials that aren't found in other cultural archives, and they suggest alternative ways of ordering the immense visual archive of the web. 

Initially published March 25, 2016.