University of Gothenburg
The monster ruins at Alvastra.
Photo: Jenny Högström Berntson

Archives Mediated: Digital Methods and Materials

As cultural heritage to varying degrees carries intentions to construe and establish identity (individual, collective, sexual, national, etc.) through the material and intangible containers of shared memory such as objects, narratives and monuments, a momentuous issue is how heritage is selected and preserved in archives – and for which uses it is again taken out of the archives. These processes are destabilized as the objects change in character when reproduced digitally. The question is then not only how this affects the objects and our means for understanding of them, but in the end how it affects our conceptions of individuality, identity and self on the whole. By opening up for wide discussion of these issues, the strand aims at progressing towards possible solutions and new research questions in broad cooperation.

One of our focal points is literary cultural heritage: As literary canon is to be understood as intended to pass on certain cultural self-understandings to posterity, we engage in finding ways to both evade the influence of canon, and at the same time scrutinize the processes of canonization and marginalization from this particular perspective. This will be achieved by focussing on such literary works that have passed, or been passed, on to oblivion. The assumption is that digitized material can be used for finding mainstream and marginalized notions of cultural systems. By setting them in contrast to the notions of past societies which we have received from canonized authors, we aim at developing new sources and methods to enhance our understanding of previous ages.

Another focal point is how the artist can be re-produced form the archive: how, to what ends and according to which principles was s/he first introduced into the archives; how, to what ends and according to which principles was s/he later called forth from the archives; how can we today understand the processes of canonization and preservation, and how can we call forth the artist in new ways using modern technology? The artist in focus is Ivar Arosenius (1878–1909) and the project has been funded for 2016-2018 by The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences and The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities.

The strand closely collaborates with the Centre for Digital Humanities at University of Gothenburg.