Home > Reading


Claim to the country: the archive of Lucy Lloyd and Wilhelm Bleek (Pippa Skotnes) 2007

In the 1870s, facing cultural extinction and the death of their language, several men and women from the northern Cape told their stories to two pioneering colonial scholars, Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd. These were the |xam (or Cape San or Bushmen) and theirs were narratives of the land, the rain, the history of the first people and the origin of the moon and stars. They told of the importance of the land and all its plants and animals, and the circumstances of their relocation to Cape Town as prisoners of the British Crown. 


This publication was produced to coincide with the exhibition Curiosity CLXXV which in turn was curated to mark the University of Cape Town's 175th anniversary. The publication is intended to be neither a book nor a catalogue, but rather a paper cabinet – a curated collection of the images and texts that were assembled in the preparation of the exhibition. As a paper cabinet, its layout depends less on the linear readability of its sequence of pages, and more on the visual delight of its layout and the play between the various taxonomies that govern display and describe the disciplines and curiosities that are represented. What has been featured here has as much to do with what seemed important and fascinating to the curators as with the unexpected discoveries that both appealed to individual visual sensitivities and teased and challenged expectations and preconceptions.

More about the publication which accompanied the exhibition.



Refiguring the archive (Ed. col. C.Hamilton, V.Harris, M.Pickover, G.Reid, R.Saleh,.J Taylor) 2002

Refiguring the archive at once expresses cutting-edge debates on `the archive' in South Africa and internationally, and pushes the boundaries of those debates. It brings together prominent thinkers from a range of disciplines, mainly South Africans but a number from other countries. Traditionally archives have been seen as preserving memory and as holding the past. The contributors to this book question this orthodoxy, unfolding the ways in which archives construct, sanctify, and bury pasts. In his contribution, Jacques Derrida (an instantly recognisable name in intellectual discourse worldwide) shows how remembering can never be separated from forgetting, and argues that the archive is about the future rather than the past. Collectively the contributors demonstrate the degree to which thinking about archives is embracing new realities and new possibilities. The book expresses a confidence in claiming for archival discourse previously unentered terrains. It serves as an early manual for a time that has already begun. 


Professor Anders Ynnerman received a Ph.D. in physics from Gothenburg University. During the early 90s he was doing research at Oxford University and Vanderbilt University. In 1996 he started the Swedish National Graduate School in Scientific Computing, which he directed until 1999. From 1997 to 2002 he directed the Swedish National Supercomputer Centre and from 2002 to 2006 he directed the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC).

Since 1999 he is holding a chair in scientific visualization at Linköping University and in 2000 he founded the Norrköping Visualization and Interaction Studio (NVIS). NVIS currently constitutes one of the main focal points for research and education in computer graphics and visualization in the Nordic region. Ynnerman is currently heading the build-up of a large scale centre for Visualization in Norrköping.

Watch talk.

Brooklyn-based artist Jonathan Harris' work celebrates the world's diversity even as it illustrates the universal concerns of its occupants. His computer programs scour the Internet for unfiltered content, which his beautiful interfaces then organize to create coherence from the chaos.

His projects are both intensely personal (the "We Feel Fine" project, made with Sep Kanvar, which scans the world's blogs to collect snapshots of the writers' feelings) and entirely global (the new "Universe," which turns current events into constellations of words). But their effect is the same -- to show off a world that resonates with shared emotions, concerns, problems, triumphs and troubles.

"Jonathan Harris [is] a New York artist and storyteller working primarily on the Internet. His work involves the exploration and understanding of humans, on a global scale, through the artifacts they leave behind on the Web."


Watch talk.

The UCT OpenContent directory is the web portal for accessing open teaching and learning content from UCT. Produced by the Open Educational Resources project in the Centre for Educational Technology at UCT with the support of the Shuttleworth Foundation, the directory aims to showcase the teaching efforts of UCT academics and encourage the publication of open resources.

The Centre for Curating the Archive began life as LLAREC (The Lucy Lloyd Archive, Resource and Exhibition Centre) in the late 1990s as a space in which material, both original and reproduced, created and found, was collected from a variety of archives, museums, collections, storerooms, offices and junk heaps and used creatively to curate exhibitions by artist-staff at the Michaelis School of Fine Art. In 2008 it expanded its activities to include a photographic unit, and it is now a centre which actively works with many different kinds of collections, developing curatorship as a creative site of knowledge. Projects, publications and courses aim, through practice, to open up novel combinations of the historically separated domains of the creative arts and the truth-claiming discourses of history and the social and natural sciences.

The Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative was established to grapple with critical questions about history, memory, identity and the public sphere in South Africa. Funded by the National Research Foundation and based at the University of Cape Town’s Social Anthropology Department, this five-year interdisciplinary research project brings together leading established and emerging scholars/researchers to explore the workings of the archive in contemporary culture.

The Archival platform is a civil society initiative committed to deepening democracy through the use of memory and archives as dynamic public resources. Established under the auspices of the University of Cape Town and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Archival Platform aims to play a catalytic role in the way in which practitioners, theorists and the general public think about the archive and the ways in which the process of archiving is practised in South Africa.

On one hand, the Archival Platform is intended to draw attention to the political and social role of archives in deepening democracy, encouraging the exercise of active citizenship, and facilitating the work of building social cohesion in a historically fractured society. On the other, it is intended to address the specific concerns of the sector- the practical challenges of digitisation, poor communication and coordination, uneven or inadequate funding and training opportunities.

The Centre for Popular Memory (CPM) is an oral history based, research, advocacy and archival centre located at the University of Cape Town. We record and disseminate people's stories to expand the democratizing possibilities of public history. The CPM trains students and organizations in oral/ visual history research, theory and forms of public representation; and runs a publicly accessible multi-lingual archive that contains over 3000 hours of audio and video.

The representational taxonomies of disease.

Hans Rosling's famous lectures combine enormous quantities of public data with a sport's commentator's style to reveal the story of the world’s past, present and future development. Now he explores stats in a way he has never done before – using augmented reality animation. In this spectacular section of 'The Joy of Stats' he tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers – in just four minutes.

Plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810, Hans shows how the world we live in is radically different from the world most of us imagine.

Artist Aaron Koblin takes vast amounts of data - and at times vast numbers of people - and weaves them into stunning visualizations. From elegant lines tracing airline flights to landscapes of cell phone data, from a Johnny Cash video assembled from crowd-sourced drawings to the "Wilderness Downtown" video that customizes for the user, his works brilliantly explore how modern technology can make us more human.

Watch talk.