Story+ Project

Experiential Archive

(2020)

Story+ 2020 | Experiential Archive

The need for compelling, innovative ways to experience archival content is a pressing one—how can we activate data, give it a new life and a new audience? Experiential Archive will facilitate a deep dive in designing meaningful, interactive engagements with archival material. The project’s broader purpose is to exemplify how archival records and documents can be made accessible and vital, how they can circulate freely within public and political discourses. The design process will be modeled on the one used in the DocX lab at the Center for Documentary Studies, an innovative space to experiment and engage in technology-influenced imaginative thinking around documentary forms, styles, and perspectives.

Skills undergrad:

Preferred attributes of undergraduates include an interest and curiosity in designing and publishing interactive / computational research-driven interventions, though no technical skills are required. Web development or coding background is a plus.

Skills grad:

Required skills for the graduate student mentor include navigating library resources, group facilitation, and a familiarity with computational media and programming.

Project Sponsor(s): 

Aaron Kutnick UX + UI Designer, DocX Lab Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

Graduate Mentor(s): 

Brooks Frederickson, PhD Candidate, Music

Brittany Green, PhD Candidate, Music

Undergraduates: 

Surya Cannon, Krystal Hu, Sana Pashankar, Dennis Tang

Outcome: 

The research practices of the Experiential Archive project centered around one question–How can we activate data and give it a new life and audience. The research process began with discussions about pre-existing digital archives and archival interfaces, exploring how digital interfaces can contextualize and decontextualize archival material and engage with questions of identity, culture, and humanity. Research then transitioned into the Rubenstein digital archives and technical research on design tools, the design process, human-centered design, and cybernetic loops. Two digital archive projects arose out of this research– the Ad History House and the Women: The World Over Digital Gallery. These two projects re-imagined content from the AdViews, Ad*Access, and Women: The World Over archival collections in virtual reality interfaces to explore the cultural implications of American ads over time and the function of the male and imperial gaze in visual archival material of women, respectively. 

Links:

  1. Ad History House
  2. Women: The World Over Digital Gallery 
DocX Lab

Topic(s)

  • Art
  • Computation
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Archives