Installation Design Exhibition Design Creative Coding UI/UX Content Curation
“Diffractive Archives” is a modular media installation that explores the transformative potential of data to regenerate multi-layered interpretations of information. The multi-screen installation showcases its archival materials ‘diffractively’ to articulate different information and media, reconstitute alternative histories, and enable associative thinking.
A media installation project
Today, much of our culture and knowledge repositories are online, and we rely on proprietary corporate software and depreciating media supports to preserve culture and information. While data is increasingly digital-first, it often perpetuates the categorical and proprietary confinements of hierarchical systems. The dominant models conceive of memory as an entry in a database that is uploaded, digitized, categorized, and preserved—but this is a mechanical memory model that does not account for how memory lives between objects, people, contexts, situations, and the various forms of agency. “Diffractive Archives” mixes a series of methodologies derived from cultural studies, anthropology, technology studies, computer science, critical theory, media art, and design to collect and relate text, images, video, and audio using computational techniques, code systems, and generative modeling. The installation is a standalone informational device that can be used for specific investigative purposes and exhibited in various settings as an experiential environment of inquiry. It is a discursive object communicating relational and associative thinking patterns. The installation is accompanied by an extensive artistic research publication that explores notions such as material and discursive formations, spectrality, tele-technologies, submedial spaces, chronopolitics, social memory, or fictional overwriting in connection to a concept of ‘diffractive archives.’ In physics, diffraction is a physical phenomenon that occurs when many waves encounter an obstacle in their path or when waves overlap. In new materialism theories—and most prominently in the writings of Karen Barad—seeing and thinking diffractively implies a self-accountable, critical, and responsible engagement with the world. Diffraction patterns are patterns of difference and fundamental constituents of the world—they do not follow hierarchical thinking but favor dialogical, accidental, uncertain, unstable, and unexpected situations to emerge. “Diffractive Archives” is scheduled for beta test in 2024