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Tuesday, December 3 • 11:30am - 11:45am
Keeping Order and Preserving Chaos

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An archive in the basement of KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art in Denmark has turned out to be an interesting case study for preserving a new kind of museum object: the big, bulky, and messy collection of cultural heritage, art, everyday objects, and personal items. Digitizing, cataloguing, and mapping this kind of archive forces us to either choose to focus on a single object or the overall archival and museological organization of objects. 

This paper presents the ideas and background behind a digital mapping project based on Mogens Otto Nielsen’s mail art archive. Firstly, I will give an introduction to the archive and the art movement it represents, and secondly, I will focus on the challenges, problems, and paradoxes that rose cataloguing the archive, i.e. merging a messy art archive with a modern museum archive. Third and finally, I will describe the initial idea behind the digital mapping project entitled “Mapping the Archive” and the on-going work with developing an interactive visualization of the archive in collaboration with Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s Cultural Heritage Archive Open System (//:CHAOS) and a small group of digital designers. 

Mogens Otto Nielsen’s mail art archive consists of about 10.000 letters, notes, fragments, objects, and artworks in various media sent from about 600 artists in the international avant-garde network of mail art from the 1960s and onwards. Today, more and more mail art archives are being collected and categorized by museums, but the mess of the archives – larges and intertwined quantities of artworks, everyday objects, personal correspondences – challenges the museums with an increasing problem with too information and multiple connections to other items or information in and outside the archive. 

avatar for Theis Vallo Madsen

Theis Vallo Madsen

PhD Fellow, KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art
Theis Vallø Madsen (b. 1980) is an Art Historian and PhD Fellow at Aarhus University and KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art Aalborg working on a research project about mail art, network and archive. The basis of the project is the cataloguing, digitalisation, and mapping of Mogens Otto... Read More →

Tuesday December 3, 2013 11:30am - 11:45am PST
Stockholm City Museum, Auditorium Ryssgården, Slussen, Stockholm, Sweden

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