Museums, Archives, AI, and Other Epistemic Infrastructures

Friday, 3 May 2024, 7.30 pm, diffrakt | centre for theoretical periphery

Conversation with
Víctor Fancelli Capdevila | Lisa Deml | Nathalia Lavigne | Gabriel Menotti

Modernity’s pretenses at universality were connected to the propagation of infrastructures to materialize, accumulate, and reproduce information. Institutions such as archives, museums, libraries, and universities have long constituted hegemonic bodies of knowledge by synchronizing and staging them as such. It comes as no surprise that these institutions fall into a crisis as new media platforms challenge their purported monopoly over truth making. The open internet, social media, and, more recently, large language models have accelerated the displacement of modern information systems, allowing for the multiplication of fragmented worldviews. But if on the one hand we must contend with ‘alternative’ truths and hallucinated ‘evidence’, on the other, we have gained multiple opportunities for epistemic dissent and disobedience. How might these emerging infrastructures affect the politics of knowing, remembering, and imagining?

This conversation brings together curators, archivists, and scholars working at the intersection of art (institutions) and (information) technologies to discuss productive tensions between institutionalized and insurgent epistemic infrastructures. We will be addressing activities such as the expansion of museums’ public programmes by digital networks, the use of proxy heritage to challenge cultural dispossession, and the creation of decentralized archives for the activation of subaltern historical narratives.