Can we already discern the structures of future memory cultures? From this fundamental question, I will examine the mediated forms of current memory culture, with a particular focus on documentary films. Digital technologies are currently leading to significant changes in our knowledge culture, which will inevitably impact the shaping of memory cultures and the structures of media memory in the near future. These changes manifest in two opposing processes: on the one hand, in the archival situation, characterized by non-accessibility, poor archiving, or even the physical decay of documentary material (such as analog video), and on the other hand, attempts at digital preservation or even reconstitution of archives through various media transformation processes - particularly re-mediatizations, which are shaped by new forms of media expression (i-docs, VR/AR-technologies etc.). The latter is not only a challenge for media historiography, but opens up new possibilities for the memory work of GLAM and memorial sites. In this contribution, I will explore the tension between disappearing archive material, using the example of the archival situation of German documentary films, and selected new digital forms of re-mediatization, focusing on themes such as the Holocaust and the Nazi era.
References see: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8098778
Thomas Weber is Professor for media studies at the University of Hamburg. He was one of the leaders of the DFG-project “History of the german documentary film after 1945” and leads several other projects in the field of documentary film (see www.dokartlabor.avinus.de) His books include: Webdokumentationen 2021; Medienkulturen des Dokumentarischen 2017 (ed. with Carsten Heinze); Mediale Transformationen des Holocausts 2013 (ed. with Ursula von Keitz); “Documentary Film in Media Transformation”, InterDisciplines – Journal of History and Sociology. Vol 4, No 1 (2013). Further information see www.thomas-weber.avinus.de