About GG

The Norwegian artist Guttorm Guttormsgaard collected some 25 000 items throughout his life including pictures, objects, documents. Its archive is housed in a former dairy in Blaker near Oslo. GG is a series of exhibitions and publications curated by Ellef Prestsaeter. The first part of the series, Gutenberg Galaxy at Blaker, the prologue, seeks to establish the project's media theoretical perspectives, in part by using the books of Marshall McLuhan as entry points to Guttormsgaard's archive.

Gutenberg Galaxy at Blaker

The Gutenberg Galaxy was the era of paper-based archives. When public as well as private archives today are supplemented with or replaced by digital solutions, this has crucial implications for what it means to store something for future usage. The ongoing work with the building of a digital database for Guttormsgaard's archive takes these issues into the heart of the collection, for which the printed book - until now - has served as the primary "storage medium".

This encounter between the medium of the book and the digital database makes the dairy a unique laboratory for a historically oriented investigation into a book culture in motion. The displacement in the archive's media technological foundations implies a radical redefinition of what the archive is, how it works, and how it may be used. Michael Murtaugh and Nicolas Malevé, members of the Brussels-based collective Constant are following the Gutenberg Galaxy at Blaker project throughout the exhibition period in order to develop digital approaches to Guttormsgaard's archive.

The results of their first probings into the archive, Eleven orderings, contrast computer vision with our own way of seeing and shows us, so to speak, the "blind material" of the digital database: the technical processes and the human labor involved in the construction of the database and the seemingly direct access to the archive that it provides.

The second set of probes takes as a point of departures SURF features that are statistical invariants detected in the images. The probes aim at giving a closer look to the visual zones detected by the SURF algorithm and use them to create a set of connections between the images that mostly confirm - and yet diverge from - "natural" perception.

About Active Archives

Active Archives project initiated in 2006 by Brussels-based art & media collective Constant that engages data-politics and introduces core values associated with free software development related to the decentralization of resources and the ownership of infrastructures. Put simply, to Constant, archives are understood as not simply a collection of material that is readable but also writable and executable, and thus subject to certain ethical standards. Active Archive's working approach is not to follow standardized archiving procedures of ordering and classifying, but to offer a series of speculations on the specific qualities of the materials by running computer programs. Nor is this reducible to something like Google's PageRank algorithm that makes sense of the vast archive of the internet in distorted ways to 'reify' knowledge and make sure that expression is linked to the market. Rather, the programs produce emergent forms of knowledge – they operate as ‘probes’ - more a project of forensics than historiography.