Watch Digital Social Memory: Ethics, Privacy, and Representation in Digital Preservation

On February 4th, 2017, a group of archivists, artists, and legal experts convened at the New Museum for Rhizome’s Digital Social Memory conference. The day’s focus was on web archiving, with conversations ranging over topics including social media, art, surveillance, and the complex ethical questions raised by digital preservation. With the development of Webrecorder—a high-fidelity web archiving tool that focuses on playback capabilities and provides its users with more agency—Rhizome has focused on giving web users resources to better understand the different contexts that digital social memory functions within. The panels spanned from: Archival Narratives and Counter-narratives, which explored how digital social memory can shape political reality, to Fair Use, Publicity, and Privacy, which provided a thorough understanding of copyright law and its use through fascinating examples from the news and everyday life, and ended with the keynote, Failures of Care, which focused on the importance of archiving black culture in the face of ongoing historical erasure, while acknowledging the possible dangers and limitations of archiving.

You can watch the full videos below. 

Session 1: Archival Narratives and Counter-narratives, chaired by Shannon Mattern, Associate Professor of Media Studies at the New School, with Mehdi Yahyanejad, founder of Net Freedom Pioneers; Josh Miller, Director of Product Management for the White House’s Office of Digital Strategy; and Dragan Espenschied, Preservation Director at Rhizome.

Session 2: Fair Use, Publicity, and Privacy, chaired by Michael Connor, Rhizome's artistic director, with Jack Cushman, attorney, programmer, and a developer of; Bruce Goldner, Partner at Skadden and co-head of its Intellectual Property and Technology Group; and Amanda Levendowski, a teaching fellow with NYU’s Technology Law and Policy Clinic.

Keynote: Failures of Care, with Bergis Jules, University and Political Papers Archivist at the University of California, Riverside; Simone Browne, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin; Doreen St. Felix, writer at MTV News; and artist, educator, and writer Kameelah Janan Rasheed.



Digital Social Memory is generously supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Major funding for the Webrecorder project is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Rhizome public programs are made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.