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Aesthetic Archive

The project seeks to consider how the ongoing development, curatorial structuring and public consumption of large, digital media repositories can be informed and expanded through processes of artistic transformation and refinement.

The initiative was an interdisciplinary and cross-sector collaboration led by Michael Takeo Magruder (Artist and Researcher, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London) in partnership with Mark Flashman (Internet Research & Future Services Team, British Broadcasting Corporation).

The main aims of the project were:

  • Appraise the current conceptual, technical and aesthetic similarities and differences between digital networked art and digital media archives in order to attempt to conceive, design and produce hybrid systems for public use that are simultaneously interactive artworks and data archive interfaces.
  • Investigate how traditional approaches to organising and curating online digital media archives and associated materials can benefit from embracing the collaborative (and highly inclusive) affordances of social media and user-adaptable content within wider creative contexts.
  • Explore how placing artistic layers of interaction within specialist digital media archives can open different possibilities for the meaningful input into and use of these repositories by general, non-specialist audiences who do not currently have effective ways to access and experience such cultural materials.

Phase I of the project was an initial consultation/planning stage, while further phases concentrated on the prototyping and development of working artwork-interfaces that were structured according to the project’s preliminary findings.


Project Team

Michael Takeo Magruder Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, is an internationally recognised visual artist and researcher who works with digital and new media including real-time data, immersive environments, mobile devices and virtual worlds. His practice explores concepts ranging from media criticism and aesthetic journalism to digital formalism and computational aesthetics, deploying Information Age technologies and systems to examine our networked, media-rich world.

Mark Flashman has been recently seconded into the BBC’s Internet Research & Future Services team (part of the organisation’s Research & Development division), to work on the World Service Radio Archive Prototype, part of ABCIP, an exciting project exploring new ways of unlocking media archives by making more effective use of metadata. A main focus of this research involves experiments to automatically categorise radio programmes, and links into Mark’s previous work in which he played a key role in the introduction, management and development of the BBC’s first digital programme archive.

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