archiving & memory


At precisely the moment in which print and music become immaterial, and our access to content outpaces our ability to read or listen, the impulse becomes one of archiving.  We seek to control, rather than collect.  The paradox of infinite storage (alongside cloud computing) is that an individual can maintain a massive archive larger than many institutions of the past, and yet we don't have the tools to properly extract information. Curating has become an invaluable skill. The archivist is the last refuge for the humanist, one who believes in the "civilizing powers of reading the right books," as Sloterdijk puts it in his essay, “Rules for the Human Park” (2002). What have we given up in this turn? What sorts of artistic and scholarly approaches and methodologies are being employed to deal with this new relationship to "information"?

Is the promise of information and communication merely a smoke-screen for neo-liberalism, increased technologization, or a further example of the corporatization of the university? Does the discourse of immaterial labour further mystify and obscure the exploitative social relations capitalism is based upon, particularly the very material labour that supports our technological networks and devices? The core value seems to remain communication and information; a la Nietzsche, is there a virtue in forgetting? Are there artistic responses that make use of ephemerality or singularity?

We seek submissions that question the use of and materiality of the archive and the ways in which the act of archiving has the potential to change the meaning of works of art, information, or objects. What role does the archivist play? What questions should be asked of the curator? Can we locate the historical moment where this shift toward the past or archiving has taken place? What can be said about the contemporary state of cultural memory?

Papers may include but are not limited to the following:

-        the nature and meaning of the archive
-        the relationship between archive, culture and social change
-        gender, identity and sexuality
-        technology and media
-        art, art practices, curation and/or representation
-        queer and feminist theory

In Circulation is an interdisciplinary journal as such, we invite proposals from scholars, artists, researchers working in but not limited to: Communication Studies, Art History, Cultural Studies, English, Museum Studies, Library Sciences, History, and Philosophy.

Papers can be in English or French, and should include a 250-word abstract. Submissions should be in Chicago Style, and be formatted for blind review. We will accept .docx, .doc, .rtf, or pdf formats only. We accept both short pieces and longer articles, not to exceed 6,000 words. We also encourage art, multi-media or opinion-based submissions. Authors are responsible for clearing all copyright.

The deadline for submissions is April 15, 2012.

Please send your submissions as an e-mail attachment to Any questions or inquiries should be sent to:

Cheryl Thompson
Joseph Sannicandro
Alan Hui-Bon-Hoa


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