Daniela Agostinho

Daniela Agostinho

Postdoc

Daniela Agostinho is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen.  

She is the recipient of a Mads Øvlisen postdoctoral fellowship awarded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation for her project entitled "Archival Encounters: Ethics of Care, Curatorial Practice and Postcolonial Digital Archives" (2018-2010).

She is affiliated with the Uncertain Archives research collective and with two other networks: Algorithmic Software Cultures and Research Network on Drones and Aesthetics. 

As a visual and cultural theorist, her research is concerned with representations of historical violence, from colonialism to contemporary warfare, with a particular focus on feminist and decolonial perspectives on visual and digital cultures. 

She studied Media and Culture Studies in Lisbon and Berlin. She holds a PhD (2014) in Culture Studies with a dissertation on the photographic records of Ravensbrück women's concentration camp, in which she discussed the relation between visibility, archival reason, gender and disciplinary power. Before joining the University of Copenhagen, she was a Lecturer in the MA in PhD programs in Culture Studies at Catholic University of Portugal, and project manager of the EU-funded project Culture@Work. 

Her main areas of interest and research are cultural theory, visual culture, feminist, postcolonial and decolonial studies, moving image studies and digital culture. She currently works on the politics of colonial archives, the visual culture of remote warfare, the notion of intimacy in algorithmic culture, and more broadly on cultural theories of big data, in particular feminist and postcolonial critiques of datafication. 

She is also interested in artistic and curatorial research as modes of expanding knowledge production. She is an independent curator, having recently curated the Lisbon leg of Artists Film International at the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (Lisbon, 2017) and '13 Shots', solo show by Aimée Zito Lema at Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon (with Luisa Santos and Ana Cachola, 2018). She is the recipient of a curatorial grant from the Porto Municipality to conduct the practice-based project "Fleshing Out the Image: Materialities of the Moving Image in Contemporary Culture" (2019). 

Her research has been published in journals such as Big Data & Society, Philosophy of Photography, Surveillance & Society, Digital Creativity, Symplokè, Diffractions, among others. She is currently working on two edited volumes, one entitled "Uncertain Archives", a glossary of critical terms for big data (with Nanna Thylstrup, Catherine D'Ignazio, Annie Ring and Kristin Veel, MIT Press, 2020) and "(W)Archives: Archival Imaginaries, War, and Contemporary Art" (with Solveig Gade, Nanna Thylstrup and Kristin Veel, Sternberg Press). With Katrine Dirckinck-Holmfeld and Karen Soilen she is editing a special issue of the Nordic Journal for Information Science and Cultural Mediation entitled 'Archives that Matter: infrastructures for Sharing Unshared Histories". At the intersection of postcolonial digital humanities and artistic research, the special issue deals with the need to imagine infrastructures (material, conceptual and affective) to deal with colonial archives under digital conditions.  

Current research

My current project is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation through a Mads Øvlisen postdoctoral fellowship (2018-2020). The project is entitled "Archival Encounters: Ethics of Care, Curatorial Practice and Postcolonial Digital Archives" and is concerned with image ethics and digitization of colonial archives. The project sets out to theorize the impact of digitization upon ethics of spectatorship in relation to colonial archives, with a particular focus on the colonial archives of the US Virgin Islands. The project also entails a practical component which will consist in a film and public lecture programme on Archival Futures. 

 

Archival Encounters: Ethics of Care, Curatorial Practice and Postcolonial Digital Archives

Abstract: This project is concerned with the necessity and possibility of inventing a new relationship to the colonial image archive. It posits that the digitization and digital display of colonial imagery demands a critical rethinking of curatorial practice that recasts questions of access, temporality and care. The project advances the notion of “archival encounter” in order to foreground the need to refocus curatorial practice on the ethical encounter between colonial images and contemporary viewing communities. This “archival encounter” lies at the centre of a practice of "curatorial care", a mode of engagement with the colonial image archive that privileges the intersubjective relations between documented and viewing subjects. The goal of the project is thus twofold:
1) to advance theoretical knowledge on the affective and ethical implications of encountering colonial images in contemporary viewing contexts; and 2) to formulate curatorial strategies that acknowledge and reinscribe the subjectivities wounded by the colonial archive in ways that do justice to the represented subjects and communities of looking.

Primary fields of research

Visual culture, cultural theory, feminist theory, postcolonial studies, digital culture, feminist technology studies, feminist and postcolonial digital humanities. 

Fields of interest

Colonialism; colonial archives; late modern warfare; biopolitics; intersections of feminism, digital culture and technology. 

Teaching

I have taught courses on colonial archives, digitization, and biopolitics, and I welcome supervision in any of my primary research fields. 

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