The Archival Technologies Lab is a space to create and share ways of doing information work towards justice; environmental, social and legal.
‘Archival’ is understood as pertaining to practices and objects that convey meaning over time. ‘Technology’ is understood as the study and knowledge of the practical use of scientific discoveries, where science is unbounded from its Western conceptualization. Both terms carry heavy legacies of power, violence and abuse, and both contain the potential for liberation.
Archival work – the making, preservation and sharing of records – performs important functions for individuals, communities, governments and corporations. This archival work has always been dependent on technologies of inscription and remembrance.
The Archival Technologies Lab is a site for the creation and practice of, research into and teaching about the technologies that enable the archival and are themselves archival. In scope for us are such activities as: agitating for criticality about and the openness of any system that decides things for or about us; finding tools for communities that want to retrieve their data from analog media; writing new histories for the devices and concepts that have shaped archival operations in society; sharing information about how hardware work.
We know that expertise is embodied in and remembered by people and communities and ATL offers a space for those who want to share what they know about technology and archival practice. Huge volumes of know-how are also locked up in technical jargon, paywalls, expensive books all built on unpaid and unacknowledged labor and care. As a space for practice, ATL promotes teaching that liberates that know-how.
The Archival Technologies Lab is based in the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at Queens College, City University of New York, on unceded land.