Daniela Agostinho

Daniela Agostinho

Assistant professor

Daniela Agostinho 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" (2018-2020).

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

As a visual and cultural theorist, her research is concerned with feminist and post/decolonial perspectives on archives, visual and digital culture. 

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 and aesthetics of colonial archives, the media aesthetics of remote warfare, the notion of intimacy in algorithmic culture, and more broadly on cultural theories of datafication and emerging technologies.

She is also interested in artistic and curatorial research as modes of 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, in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, London) 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" (2019-2020). 

Her research has been published in journals such as Big Data & Society, Philosophy of Photography, Surveillance & Society, Digital Creativity, Archival Science, Symplokè, Diffractions, among others. She is currently working on two edited volumes, one entitled "Uncertain Archives", a glossary of critical keywords 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, 2020). With Katrine Dirckinck-Holmfeld and Karen Soilen she recently edited 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. She is also working on a special issue on 'The Sensorial Experience of the Drone" for the journal Senses & Society with Kathrin Maurer and Kristin Veel. 

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.  

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. 

Primary fields of research

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

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