Para-archives is an initiative aiming to regenerate curiosity, criticality, and creativity in the way we reflect on the surrounding world today, in the times of information overflow and crisis of attention. Conceptually, the project concentrates on informal accounts, diligently pursued idiosyncratic collections, and poetic inventories of various excerpts from human and other-than-human existences, territories, and temporalities. Practically, Para-archives is an independent art/research publication, repository, and curatorial initiative. This website presents some of its completed and ongoing works.

The prefix para- takes on several meanings here. As the etymology indicates, coming from the Greek the term denotes that which happens beside, is amiss and out of place. But para- might also mean a state of being distant from and yet analogous to something or someone (as in para-military). Here, the prefix para- is used primarily to indicate the parallel nature of personal collecting and archiving in relation to other currents of everday life. It also differentiates them from other, institutional archiving practices undertaken by, for example, memory institutions, state archives and museums concerned typically with the formalization, accumulation, preservation, and administration of historical documents.

Besides that, para-archiving can be seen as a practice taking place parallel to other kinds of both voluntary and non-voluntary, automated, imperceptible capturing and micro-archiving practices and mechanisms inscribed deeply in the workings of today's computational technologies and network services.

If you engage in para-archival practices yourself, or know of someone who does, and would like the project to be featured here, please get in touch via info(at)para-archives(dot)net. Do not hestitate to get in touch if you would like to organize a talk, exhibition, presentation, or a hands-on workshop on para-archiving.

The project emerged from Jacek Smolicki's doctoral research and publication "Para-archives: Rethinking Personal Archiving Practices in the Times of Capture Culture" conducted between 2013-2017 at School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University. It was also a part of the Living Archives research project financed by the Swedish Research Council. For more info about the author Click here. Concept, Design, and © Jacek Smolicki