Cyber Collections: The Digital Archive of Virtual Performance

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This paper argues that the dissemination of dance through moving images on online sharing sites such as YouTube and Google video can be viewed as an archive. By uploading videos and providing comments users become its builders and organizers. Online users do not consciously create this archive but rather it takes shape through their involvement in other social activities. The archive as self-generating provides a new vision that has yet to be fully incorporated into archival discourse. Despite the potential of digital collections to challenge the traditional concept of the archive as structured around a central authority, the virtual archive has been viewed as an impoverished version of its real world counterpart. The digital archive is deemed to lack the intimacy and tactility that users of the real-world archives experience as they discover and come into contact with actual documents and artifacts. Nonetheless, this paper argues that the self-generating digital archive of moving dance images enables the sensations of closeness and touch to emerge through haptic visuality which transforms the visual into a tactile phenomenon. This virtual archive is forged by the technology of the Internet, the medium of online video and the very knowledge that is being collected – namely popular dance.


Keywords: Archive, Internet, Moving Image, Haptic Visuality, Dance
Stream: Cyberspace, Technology
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr Sheenagh Pietrobruno

Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Fatih University
Istanbul, Turkey

Sheenagh Pietrobruno holds a PhD in Communications from McGill University. She has been a postdoctoral research fellow at Goldsmiths College, University of London and at the Advanced Cultural Studies of Sweden, Linkoping University. She is the author of Salsa and Its Transnational Moves. Her forthcoming book project explores the worlds of cyberspace and virtual performance.

Ref: H08P0504