You Press the Button, We Do the Rest. Personal Archiving in Capture Culture

  • Jacek Smolicki


In today’s abundance of media technological devices we engage in capturing ever more detailed aspects of everyday lives. Due to the constant state of connectivity with human and non-human actors of the network society, the boundaries between voluntary and involuntary capture and archiving become ever more blurred. In the context of ubiquitous technologies we have become at once micro-archivists and micro-archives, or, differently put, subjects and objects of pervasively radiating micro-temporal of the arts in relation to Bernard of capture, mediation and storage of our digitized life-bits. In this chapter, the author problematizes this state of the arts in relation to Bernard Stiegler’s concepts of mnemotechniques and mnemotechnologies. The transition from one to the other can be seen as a mutation from low-tech manual techniques of handling one’s memory to large-scale, automated mnemonic industries which, while providing immediate solutions for capturing and organizing the flows of memories, simultaneously benefit from them economically. The author argues that mnemotechnologies concerned with capturing have been eroding the use and significance of the term “recording”. He demonstrates this erosion along the trajectory from amateur practices of snap-shooting (enabled first by mass-produced cameras such as the Brownie) to ubiquitous computing of digital snapshots such as Facebook. What follows this discussion is a brief turn toward counter-practices that attempt to disrupt this current techno-political condition. Drawing on the concept of the post-digital, which through its call for a return to craft seems to correspond with the notion of mnemotechnique, as an epilogue to this chapter, the author speculates on alternative itineraries for how capturing and archiving practices can be re-invented today.



I would like to thank my PhD supervisors Maria Hellström Reimer and Ulrika Sjöberg from the School of Arts and Communication at Malmö University. Their generous and inspiring comments and critique helped shape this text, which draws on my recently published doctoral thesis.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Malmö UniversityMalmöSweden

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