Archival Futures. Born Digital Architecture Media: Annet Dekker Interviewed by Federica Goffi
August 23, 2021
Architecture and Culture, the international journal of the Architectural Humanities Research Association, has published an interview by Federica Goffi, interim director of Carleton University’s architecture school, with digital preservation expert Annet Dekker.
The discussion, titled Archival Futures. Born Digital Architecture Media: Annet Dekker Interviewed by Federica Goffi, focuses on the archival futures of “born digital” architectural representations produced by software programs, including models, renderings, and animations.
Dr. Dekker is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies: Archival and Information Studies at the University of Amsterdam and Visiting Professor and co-director of the Center for the Study of the Networked Image at London South Bank University.
She is also an independent curator and editor of several volumes, including, Curating Digital Art. From Presenting and Collecting Digital Art to Networked Co-Curating (2021) and Lost and Living [in] Archives. Collectively Shaping New Memories (2017). Her monograph, Collecting and Conserving Net Art (2018), is a seminal work in the field of digital art conservation.
“I invited Dr. Annet Dekker to comment on the archival of architecture media, such as the transfer of the documents of MVRDV to Het Nieuwe Instituut (HNI) in Rotterdam — their first archival collection of almost entirely born-digital architecture media,” explains Dr. Goffi.
“She addresses my questions ranging from how the techniques and cultures of archival technologies are affecting or affected by changing modes of media production,” says Goffi, whose research includes the archival of analog and born-digital architecture media.
“She also addresses the vital curatorial questions regarding inclusion and exclusion, omission and promotion of materials, and the potential for the creation of ‘living digital archives’ of digital media.”
In the interview, Dekker discusses her 2014–2016 collaboration with Het Nieuwe Instituut (HNI) through the speculative project: New Archive Interpretations, which probed into the digital archive as a system of how processes and individuals influence what can and cannot be seen, accessed, distributed, and re-used.
Dekker discusses the dynamic and stable nature of physical and digital archives, the interdependence between born digital media and software and its impact on conservation, and the relation between co-production and authorship.
She also warns about dark archives and the complexity of technical infrastructures and metadata reflecting ideological constructs and socio-cultural views. The interview questions whether living digital archives can blur the line between the projective dimension of materials and retrospective conservation.
The interview took place on Zoom on October 19, 2020, and is part of the special issue of Architecture and Culture, Volume 9, Issue 3 (2021), edited by Dr. Goffi, which is titled: And Yet it Moves: Ethics, power, and politics in the stories of collecting, archiving and displaying of drawings and models.
This article as well as the entire content of the special issue can be downloaded from the Carleton library.
About Federica Goffi
Federica Goffi is a Professor of Architecture, Interim Director and Co-Chair of the PhD and MAS program in architecture at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. She holds a PhD from Virginia Tech in Architecture and Design Research. She has published book chapters and journal articles on the threefold nature of time-weather-tempo. Her book, Time Matter[s]: Invention and Re-imagination in Built Conservation: The Unfinished Drawing and Building of St. Peter’s in the Vatican, was published by Ashgate in 2013. In addition, she edited Marco Frascari’s Dream House: A Theory of Imagination (Routledge 2017), InterVIEWS: Insights and Introspection in Doctoral Research in Architecture (Routledge 2019), and co-edited Ceilings and Dreams: The Architecture of Levity (Routledge 2019). She holds a Dottore in Architettura from the University of Genoa, Italy. She is a licensed architect in her native country, Italy.
About Annet Dekker
Annet Dekker is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies: Archival and Information Studies at the University of Amsterdam and Visiting Professor and co-director of the Center for the Study of the Networked Image at London South Bank University. She is an independent curator and has published in numerous collections and journals and is the editor of several volumes, among others, Curating Digital Art. From Presenting and Collecting Digital Art to Networked Co-Curating (2021) and Lost and Living [in] Archives. Collectively Shaping New Memories (2017). Her monograph, Collecting and Conserving Net Art (2018) is a seminal work in the field of digital art conservation.