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Rogue Archives: Digital Cultural Memory and…
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Rogue Archives: Digital Cultural Memory and Media Fandom (MIT Press) (edició 2016)

de Abigail De Kosnik (Autor)

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"The task of archiving was once entrusted only to museums, libraries, and other institutions that acted as repositories of culture in material form. But with the rise of digital networked media, a multitude of self-designated archivists -- fans, pirates, hackers -- have become practitioners of cultural preservation on the Internet. These nonprofessional archivists have democratized cultural memory, building freely accessible online archives of whatever content they consider suitable for digital preservation. In Rogue Archives, Abigail De Kosnik examines the practice of archiving in the transition from print to digital media, looking in particular at Internet fan fiction archives. De Kosnik explains that media users today regard all of mass culture as an archive, from which they can redeploy content for their own creations. Hence, "remix culture" and fan fiction are core genres of digital cultural production. De Kosnik explores, among other things, the anticanonical archiving styles of Internet preservationists; the volunteer labor of online archiving; how fan archives serve women and queer users as cultural resources; archivists' efforts to attract racially and sexually diverse content; and how digital archives adhere to the logics of performance more than the logics of print. She also considers the similarities and differences among free culture, free software, and fan communities, and uses digital humanities tools to quantify and visualize the size, user base, and rate of growth of several online fan archives."… (més)
Membre:klangable
Títol:Rogue Archives: Digital Cultural Memory and Media Fandom (MIT Press)
Autors:Abigail De Kosnik (Autor)
Informació:The MIT Press (2016), Edition: First Edition, 440 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Rogue Archives: Digital Cultural Memory and Media Fandom (MIT Press) de Abigail De Kosnik

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If, as some have suggested, fandom is where important cultural trends show up before they reach mass culture, then maybe fanfic archives say something about the future of archiving. De Kosnik’s important book has a lot to say about the nature of media fans’ production (which she considers fundamentally performance-based, as Francesca Coppa does) and archiving practices. The book begins “Memory has gone rogue,” in the sense that our public, collective memory has become detached from the state. I’d point to copyright owners like Disney as participants in this process along with rogue archivists, and not just because of Rogue One, the difference of course being that Disney is interested in widespread penetration but not in free access.

One of De Kosnik’s key terms is “repertoire,” which is not opposed to the archive but rather is the contents of the archive—repertoire is “physical, bodily acts of repetition, of human performance”—but those are made (im)material by the records in the archive that are available for people to choose from. Rather than a canon, we have myriad possible versions of everything, and each person can pick from the options.

De Kosnik also emphasizes the humanity behind the archives, because they are run by people, and when the people step away the archives shut down. “If librarians had to not only enter books into their records and put them on the shelves of a library, and also had to pay the rent and other fees associated with having the library building in the first place, and also had to make sure that for every single book in the library, a copy existed in another library with which they were in direct contact, and if librarians had to personally designate their replacement before resigning their post, or else risk the closure of the entire library, then both librarians and the library-going public would be farm more conscious of how much repeated human labor and intervention—which I am calling archival repertoire—goes into the maintenance of a library.” But archive elves are rarely imagined as actual human beings; they’re “facilitators of more heroic archetypes: actors, artists, writers.” Their labor is disembodied and often overlooked, just like stage workers backstage. As she points out, that’s actually part of the aspiration—to make the archive/playgoing experience seamless: “The smoothness of platform use to which the majority of platform designers aspire requires the erasure of all traces of the designers’ labor.” (It would have been interesting for her to engage with Evgeny Morozov’s advocacy for difficult design here, given his project of disrupting neoliberal platforms.)

One thing special about an archive, De Kosnik suggests, is the sense it gives people who stumble on it that they’re not alone, not unique in making up stories about the characters they love. “[I]f these sites had not been archives, had not immediately given the impression of being well-stocked repositories, trafficked by many writers and readers, then they may not have communciated to fans the same aura of safety—safety in numbers, safety in being among like-minded individuals, safety in standing with others.” Which is an interesting contrast to zine culture, often carried out in what at least felt like slightly dodgy back rooms; there was that one time the zine seller quizzed me to make sure I knew I was going to get stories about Kirk and Spock boinking, and even showed me a picture. I guess I didn’t fit the profile. In zine culture, the safety was in obscurity, not just community.

This idea of finding like-minded souls (and the transcendence of the body is probably not incidental here) connects to De Kosnik’s discussion of how fan archives represent time “feminized and queered”—works that took years to accumulate presented all at once; works produced and consumed for pleasure, representing the largely female-identifying audience’s “me time.” The acceleration involved in transitioning media fandom online was also of great concern to offline fans, many of whom found at least some aspects of the transition disconcerting and even unappealing. De Kosnik argues that their concerns were united by “a preoccupation with the absence of female human bodies from the virtual network.” In her parable of Janeway/Seven Voyager femslash, De Kosnik argues that one can find a model for the productive encounter between old-school and new digital fans, each of which has something to give the other.

In terms of embodiment, De Kosnik argues that authors’ notes and challenges often provide the clues to time and embodiment that can be overlooked by people who ignore the metadata. In notes, authors who are “realistic” within their fan fiction perform the existence of a virtual body; they use emoticons and other indications of bodily response. They participate in challenges, fulfilling fans desire “to create group experiences of immediacy, spontaneity, and urgency, experiences similar to live and in-person improvisatory performances.”

She considers fan narratives to be, fundamentally, forks of the initial “code.” Indeed, she contends, the free software freedoms to “run” the program (experience the work), study its source (characters and story), change the source, and distribute those modified copies are in fact “innate to media reception, consumption, and use, and legal designations, such as the GPL license or Creative Commons licenses, simply try to align with, formalize, and provide legal cover for, the freedoms that media users exercise with or without legal permission.” This is consistent with a concept of media literacy that “involves a perspective on culture, all of culture, as a shared set of ‘resources’ that each user feels she or he owns (whether they own copyright over specific cultural products or not), and therefore, feels entitled to ‘manipulate … as materials and tools.’”

At the end, De Kosnik shares data on the amount of fan fiction she collected (with others) by scraping Livejournal communities, fanfiction.net, and the AO3. It would take 94 years to get through the X-Files archive Gossamer at a rate of one story a day; it would take 1729 years to get through all the Harry Potter stories on fanfiction.net at the same rate. However, De Kosnik finds that Gossamer has 5.2 stories per author, while there are 2.9 stories per author on ff.net. She suggests that XF fandom in the 90s may have been more of a “cult” fandom than HP fandom in the 2000s; by then, casual fans might well be dipping their toes into fanfic along with more dedicated fans. Still, most HP fans who posted stories on ff.net did so more than once, so, as she notes, “casual” might be the wrong term. Separately, the number of unique authors on ff.net is 1.2 million, “9.3 times the number of writers and authors who were employed in the United States in 2012.” The number of reviews posted to stories on ff.net over the past fifteen years is 139.5 million, which is more than the 131 million tickets purchased to sporting events in the US and Canada in 2012. This is a big venue for cultural consumption and production, and it’s not slowing down any. Only self-publishing ebooks grew faster in recent years than fan fiction production, which was up 60 percent in 3 years. De Kosnik contends that “at 5.4 million archived works—90 times as many works as are housed in Netflix’s streaming library—with 80,000 new works currently being added every month, FF.net can be considered a mass media channel.” And AO3 is growing even faster. ( )
  rivkat | Dec 20, 2016 |
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"The task of archiving was once entrusted only to museums, libraries, and other institutions that acted as repositories of culture in material form. But with the rise of digital networked media, a multitude of self-designated archivists -- fans, pirates, hackers -- have become practitioners of cultural preservation on the Internet. These nonprofessional archivists have democratized cultural memory, building freely accessible online archives of whatever content they consider suitable for digital preservation. In Rogue Archives, Abigail De Kosnik examines the practice of archiving in the transition from print to digital media, looking in particular at Internet fan fiction archives. De Kosnik explains that media users today regard all of mass culture as an archive, from which they can redeploy content for their own creations. Hence, "remix culture" and fan fiction are core genres of digital cultural production. De Kosnik explores, among other things, the anticanonical archiving styles of Internet preservationists; the volunteer labor of online archiving; how fan archives serve women and queer users as cultural resources; archivists' efforts to attract racially and sexually diverse content; and how digital archives adhere to the logics of performance more than the logics of print. She also considers the similarities and differences among free culture, free software, and fan communities, and uses digital humanities tools to quantify and visualize the size, user base, and rate of growth of several online fan archives."

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