A Project from Stuff and Things (Alexander Cromer and Luke Rideout)



‘The Transnational Archive in collaboration with Stuff and Things present Archie, an augmented reality interface for archival appraisal. It runs on the Data Stream, which connects all objects (both human and non-human) in a sprawling neural network of actors, each contributing their own bioinfometric perspective.



By utilising the vast computational power of algorithmic entities to steer the highly developed physical motor skills of humans it ensures our collective memory is sourced from an optimal characterisation of average lived experiences.



The Transnational Archive can be accessed from your local library’s VR port or from your personal headset and contains all of the most pivotal moments in history. ’





This project proposes a potential scenario to the archival institutions we have worked with. Extrapolating from current tech developments such as the iPhoneX’s neural chip, fully immersive commercial virtual experiences and functional augmented reality interfaces we pose the question:

How can archivists work with algorithms and emergent technology to develop a transparent and accessible archive?



The experience takes place at the moment as this process culminates, with the release of a piece of technology that will save humanity from it’s archival woes. The experience is designed to encourage archival experts to question the necessity of digitalisation whilst presenting the rise of consumerist brands driven by scientific progress as a form of ideological control that should be collaborated with in careful consideration of motives.



The project also responds to ambitions of influential archivists who seek to create one centralized archive shared by all nations in an Enlightnement style project. We explore the potential for cultural homogenization in this context, whereby if all artifacts are stored by one omnipotent system there is a high chance perspectives could either be blended or lost altogether. This could leave the cultural landscape, that archivists are responsible for stewarding, barren and devoid of natural cycles of birth and decay.



When we asked experts their opinions on algorithmic curating and were met in the most part by the response that the technology is not powerful enough to respond to the nuances of the task. Not yet anyway…



Another theme is the idea of an archival geographical layer that exists today on Earth, or the Anthropocene. If we consider the fact that all the objects we have created could either end up in landfill or a museum depending on the perspective of the archivist it seems problematic to exclude the ‘waste’ from our archival storage system, what if the role of the archivist could extend to reimagining these materials that didn’t make the cut, creating new cultural objects in the process.




Thanks to Gareth at the Machines Room, the BFI archivists, Phil Lee at XL, countless others.