n Innovation : journal of appropriate librarianship and information work in Southern Africa - #ButHowLongWillTheyMatter? Preserving digital artefacts of acts of remembrance and resistance

Volume 2016 Number 53
  • ISSN : 1025-8892



The proliferation of smartphones, pocket cameras, and other inexpensive video devices has meant that “the practices of everyday life” (de Certeau 1984) might be captured and shared freely by amateur videographers. Cultural events (such as street performances as well as such acts of resistance as political rallies and spontaneous civil disobedience) are shared across social networks and uploaded to video hosting sites for the world to see. Not only have they altered news media, they have affected the broader information landscape by creating new and alternative narratives to traditional records of events. What role then do libraries, archives, museums, cultural centres and other cultural heritage and social memory organisations have in preserving acts of remembrance and resistance captured in amateur video recordings? Should they begin to work deliberately and aggressively to preserve them for future generations? Drawing heavily on ideas of memory and resistance conceptualized by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (2009) and using critical theory to examine efforts thus far to preserve and digitise cultural expressions and acts of political resistance, this paper explores these questions through the lens of street videography, citizen journalism, and incidental documentation of events. The paper begins by exploring the application of critical theory to concepts of memory and resistance; then shifts to three examples of videography made accessible through web video hosting sites; and concludes by returning to the original questions as they relate to libraries and other social memory organisations.

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