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Third International Conference, “Archives and Exhibitions”

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11 | 07 | 2014

The Third International Conference “Archives and Exhibitions” titled Archives and the digital-training in the digital era, organized by la Biennale di Venezia in the context of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, with the collaboration of the Archive Superintendence for the Veneto Region, will take place on Friday November 7th at the Biennale Library (Central Pavilion at Giardini).
 
Why this conference
"You can’t hold an exhibition without having recourse to archives”, explains the President of la Biennale, Paolo Baratta. The use of archive documents in exhibitions is growing, but also a lot of interest and questions about the evolution of the arts and architecture is growing, this is why the dialogue between archives and exhibitions is now necessary.
 
"For this reason the Biennale decided to pay particular attention to this theme – says Baratta – furthermore the Biennale decided that the archive must become a ‘permanent theme’ of its research and activity. There is a necessity due to the way the Biennale organizes its exhibitions, and the themes and questions that arise when a curator organizes a contemporary art exhibition. The fact that the Biennale needs archives is not only a technical matter, it is also a fact that raises questions about the evolution of contemporary art itself.
 
The theme of the Conference
Along with the need of archives in our own exhibitions, we inevitably add also the theme of the digitalization of the Biennale Historical Archives and the archiving of the exhibitions. The urgent problem now is the general methodology of use of digitalization in the archives, depending on the nature of the archives themselves. Hence the theme of this year’s conference: The archives and the digital training in the digital age.
 
Among the issues to be investigated there are the dissipation of the memory and the vulnerability of digital data: hard drives only last five years, a webpage is forever changing and there’s no machine left that reads 15-year old floppy disks; entire libraries and archives are lost due to budget cuts, because we assume everything can be found online. But is this really true?
 
The documentary, Digital Amnesia
During the Conference the documentary directed by the Dutch journalist Bregtje van der Haak, Digital Amnesia, will be screened. The work explores the impact of the limited shelf life of digital technology to store information, and investigates the experience of people and organizations seeking to preserve the data. From the sensational case of the old library of the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, lost due to budget cuts, to  the adventure of 400,000 books  saved by Ismail Serageldin, the Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina which is pouring the legendary library of classical antiquity into a new knowledge hub for the digital world.
For the first time in history we have the technological means to save our past even if everything seems to be going up in smoke. Will we suffer from collective amnesia? 
 
"We want this series of conferences to become the occasion for an evolution - states Baratta - an exchange of ideas with friends and scholars working in the archives or in the superintendences, to contribute together to raise the public's attention, the authorities' attention and the attention of all towards this essential area of knowledge that can offer perspectives, relationships, and insights. La Biennale, with its Historical Archives, is the place where to consider these issues.
 
With this wish, the President of la Biennale will open the conference and will present the Proceedings of last year's conference. Guido Melis, professor of history of public administration, will introduce the theme of this edition. At the end of the first working session the documentary Digital Amnesia (directed by the Dutch journalist Bregtje van der Haak) will be screened. The film explores the impact of the limited duration of digital technology to store the information, and examine the experience of people and organizations that try to preserve data.
 
The afternoon round table will bring together the representatives of cutting edge institutions in document conservation, scholars, archivists, and new digital technologies experts.
Speakers include: Ralph Dum, from the Digital Science unit of the European Commission and Mirko Zardini, Director of the CCA Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. Michele Petochi, Director of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale in Losanna, will present the project Digital Humanities Venice and Alessandro Bordina, from the Laboratori di cinema La Camera Ottica /CREA, University of Udine, will show the most advanced methods for the restoration and archiving of audiovisual documents. Archival institutions will be represented by Erilde Terenzoni, Archive Superintendent for Veneto and Trentino - Alto Adige, Stefano Vitali, Archive Superintendent for Emilia Romagna, and Debora Rossi, Responsible for the Historical Archives of la Biennale di Venezia.
 
 
 
PROGRAM
 
Session 1 | 10:30 am – 1:00 pm
Conference Opening and presentation of the Proceedings of the Second International Conference “Archives and Exhibition” 2013: Paolo Baratta, President of la Biennale di Venezia
 
Opening report by Guido Melis, Full Professor of the history of public administration
 
Presentation of the documentary Digital Amnesia by Bregtje van der Haak,Documentary director and journalist - Screening of Digital Amnesia (50 minutes) by Bregtje van der Haak
 
 
Session 2 | 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Round table
Guido Melis, Full Professor of the history of public administration, Sapienza Università di Roma
Ralph Dum, European Commission CONNECT Directorate-General Unit C3 - Digital Science
Mirko Zardini, Director of CCA Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal
Giovanna Borasi, Chief Curator of Canadien Centre for Architecture, Montreal
Bregtje van der Haak, Documentary director and journalist
Debora Rossi, Responsible for the Historical Archives of la Biennale di Venezia
Erilde Terenzoni, Archive Superintendent for Veneto and Trentino - Alto Adige
Stefano Vitali, Archive Superintendent for Emilia Romagna
Michele Petochi, Managing Director of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Venice, presenting the project Digital Humanities Venice
Alessandro Bordina, Responsible for the video preservation, Laboratori di cinema La Camera Ottica /CREA, University of Udine