• Impakt Festival 2015

    This years Impakt Festival takes place from 28 October- 1 November 2015 and is themed A World Well Documented (The Future of History): a five-day multi media festival with exhibitions, lectures and screenings at different locations in the city of Utrecht.


    We live in a world in which more information was recorded over the past decade than in all the centuries that came before. Exabytes of information and expanding all the time. The Impakt Festival 2015 will be about the changes to our conception of private and collective histories that this mass data collecting brings about. Will digital technologies, social media timelines, all our uploads and e-mail histories allow us to keep perfect accounts of the past? No more guessing what someone looked like or what actually happened? Will advanced presentation technologies make going back in time a more real, accurate and even immersive experience – or should we, paradoxically, worry about digital amnesia?

    The recording and distribution of data not only influences our perception of the past, the analysis and extrapolation of data can also create a different perception of the future.
    In a World Well Documented we will investigate how concepts of personal and collective memory and the general perceptions of history and future are changing.

    The Idealistic And Classic Notions Of Documentation and Knowledge
    From ancient times onwards, it has been man’s dream to accumulate all-encompassing knowledge of the world. The construction of that knowledge and the effort of documenting the world can be seen as a culture’s collective attempt to develop science, to memorise and to be remembered. Now, in the Digital Age, the Internet, technology and social media have lent enormous momentum to this knowledge. The tools for accessing, sharing and contributing to this knowledge are within everyone’s reach. A wide range of platforms allow us to contribute to networks and amass information: Internet encyclopaedias are a democratic sum of the efforts of a ubiquitous critical mass and almost everything on earth is documented. How does this influence our perception of present, past and future?

    The (Im)Perfection Of Personal And Collective Data Storage
    A dimension was added to the discussion on the archiving and preservation of information, books, films and audio-visual files when we realised that electronic images and digital data didn’t live up to their promise of eternity. Not only does the medium appear imperfect, mankind also sometimes inadequately processes its personal and collective past. Despite mass data capture we forget to make back-ups and entire libraries and archives are threatened and in search of new accommodation. How do we deal with the risks of digital amnesia?

    Data As An Economic Factor
    We are constantly informed. News, media and friendships are closer than ever. The world is more accessible, comfortable and instructive than we’d foreseen. But most recent developments confront us with much more radical consequences of the ever increasing storage and accessibility of data. When we take and share information, navigate and accept cookies, we leave traces of our doing – information that perfectly lends itself for other purposes than the acquisition of knowledge in the idealistic sense of the word. Data
    is the ‘oil’ of the 21st century: our online behaviour has been rendered an economic factor.

    Is Our Sense Of Past And Future Getting Less or More Perfect?
    We are obsessive self-archivists. We can scroll back on our timelines forever, but what gets lost if the process of remembering is no longer based on creative reconstruction but on the click-and play of digital data? Are we forgetting to remember?

    How does collective memory develop in a perfectly documented world? Modern technologies allow us to retroactively sharpen the analyses of documents and artefacts from the past making them more accurate. What impact will new information concerning the past have on our current assumptions regarding social equality, justice or international conflict? How do we deal with the differences between the trivial and the essential in this “Capture All” era?
    The Future is no longer a dark fathomless cloud, but a set of patterns and connections that can be controlled and predicted when we collect enough relevant data. Some argue that predicting the future will become more accurate now it is increasingly based on scientific calculations of probability. While we should scrutinise the claims of accuracy these predictions come with and analyse the philosophical, ethical and political consequences of these developments. It is safe to say however that our perception of the future is changing because of these technological developments.

    The Dynamics Behind Contemporary Data Collection
    Archives used to be carefully curated, limited to the essential and studied to gain knowledge, contemporary data clouds adhere to a totally different dynamic. They are continuous registrations of live moments and they are mined for demographics, ideas and experiences. Automatic scans are made generating meta-information on all kinds of subjects. How will we decide what to store and what to discard or will others decide this for us? How to condense or prioritise in order to avoid spending half our lives looking back on the other half? Smart data-mining apps will help us to find our way around the information that we stored, but who sets their settings and creates our memories?

    And will we be able to enforce a right to be forgotten in a world that by definition keeps recording all dimensions of our behaviour?

    The Impakt Festival 2015 A World Well Documented (The Future of History) will offer reflections and new ideas on the future of ‘history’ and on the future of the ‘future’, including existing and new notions of ‘memory’, the ‘past’, ‘recollection’, ‘prediction’ and ‘free will’, in the framework of the almost unlimited data recording and storage capacities that are (being) developed in the world today.
    Historical, poetical, technological and philosophical approaches will be combined to discuss the question how a digitally created and conserved memory will construct our conceptions of the past and the future.

    In a world well documented, future and past will not be what they used to be.