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The Archive as Dumpster

February 24, 2015
12:30-2:00pm CST
IIT Institute of Design, 6th floor
350 N LaSalle St
Chicago, IL 60654

In four exploratory theoretical gestures (appraise, dispose, hoard, and mediate), Mél Hogan proposes the “archive as dumpster” as a framework for returning to the physical conditions of memory, where “picking through the trash” subverts traditional archival methodologies by insisting on the very material consequences of a culture inculcated in networked digital communications. Mél makes the argument that by posing the archive as a mediatic question (Parikka), we can begin to account more seriously for the ways in which the perceived immateriality and weightlessness of our data have important humanistic, environmental, political, and ethical repercussions. Pitting the archive’s orderly ambitions against the dumpster’s stinking mess reveals a “call of things” (Bennett)—the slow and often distanced process of disposal and waste—to remind us who we are, in and over time, in and out of our bodies, and increasingly under the impression of a dematerialized engagement with our stuff and ourselves.

About Mél

Mél Hogan is an assistant professor of communication at IIT Humanities. She teaches environmental media and graphic design. Her current research is at the intersection of environmental materialities, the archive, and media studies, using new materialism and media ecologies as guiding theoretical frameworks. Mél is also a co-editor of the online and p.o.d. journal of arts and politics, a research design consultant for, a cofounder of the Critical Futures Lab at IIT Institute of Design, and director of the DH Speaker Series at IIT.

Mél Hogan will speak as part of "In the Loop", a lecture series on design, innovation and entrepreneurship organized by IIT Institute of Design faculty. The series engages a wide range of speakers that present on topics ranging from theoretical research and emerging methodologies that are relevant to the field of design as well as personal narratives and examples from current design practice.