This essay examines Occupy Wall Street’s attempts to archive the movement from within. It examines the social, physical, and conceptual limits of the Occupy Wall Street Archives Working Group’s attempts to create a purely horizontalist, rhizomatic archive that would structurally embody the movement’s politics. Such an egalitarian “living archive” proved impossible to fully actualize in the way that it had been conceptualized. The process of its development, however, reveals a great deal through the tensions between the living archive as an ideal expression of the movement’s politics and the actual production of such an archive through social and technical systems that preexist it. Such experiments in self-archiving, the essay argues, are crucial to better understanding power and collective agency in the context of digital media.
Assembling the Living Archive: A Media-Archaeological Excavation of Occupy Wall Street
Jason W. Buel is an assistant professor of communication at North Carolina Wesleyan College. He holds a PhD in communication, rhetoric, and digital media from North Carolina State University. His research examines the intersections between documentary media and activism, focusing on the affective, material, and political dimensions of digital media practices in contemporary social movements.
Jason W. Buel; Assembling the Living Archive: A Media-Archaeological Excavation of Occupy Wall Street. Public Culture 1 May 2018; 30 (2): 283–303. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-4310930
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