Postdigital Collective Memory: Media Practices Against Total Design (A. Jelewska)

The article presents the concept of postdigital collective memory—a proposal that opens possible research fields for postdigital science and education. Postdigital collective memory is co-created between human and nonhuman beings and technological media, with the latter treated as sensitive sensors. In order to exemplify this concept, the article presents research results from field practices and design workshops conducted by the Humanities/Art/Technology Research Center at Lake Elsensee-Rusałka in Poznań and the prototype of the Sensitive Data Lake (SDL)—a digital environment project incorporating human and nonhuman actants and attempting to restore a shared narrative about a place whose history has been suppressed and has faded from public memory. This lake is one of many examples of what Tony Fry calls ‘total design’: it was created during World War II, through the forced labor of Jewish prisoners, as part of the Nazi expansion into the East; and the project attempted to redesign the environment and remove the local inhabitants. Following the theories that analyze the long duration of ‘total design’ (Fry) and the concepts of transitions design (Escobar), the author’s own Critical Media Design (CMD) method was applied to develop various experimental strategies for design and educational work related to the history and memory of the Elsensee-Rusałka site in the postdigital reality.

prof. AMU dr. hab. Agnieszka Jelewska