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Virtual CIAM Museum

The Jaap Bakema Study Centre (JBSC) is the research initiative of TU Delft and Het Nieuwe Instituut. The JBSC is developing a research programme based on Het Nieuwe Instituut's architecture collection. This programme focuses on the intersection of fundamental historical-theoretical research and urgent social questions about architecture and urban design. As part of Closer to Architecture, JBSC wants to set up a multi-year research project entitled Virtual CIAM Museum. Virtual CIAM Museum is a digital platform based on a selection of different key archives within the collection in combination with digitised collections from international fellow institutions. This last aspect in particular is an exceptional innovation: potentially a network of (international) archive institutions can be created that make their collections public within Virtual CIAM Museum and develop new narratives, aimed at different audience groups. Virtual CIAM Museum brings together digitised archives, repositories and public data sets as a curatorial project that tells new stories in new formats based on the almost infinite amount of source material. Cross-traffic with the new practices of game design, film and social media is obvious, coupled with historical-theoretical museological models such as the Mnemosyne atlas project by Aby Warburg, or the Musée Imaginaire by André Malraux.

Speculative projects

Open Media Art is conceived as a collaboration with the Sound and Vision institute and invites makers to realise a new, autonomous media work with archive material that is open for reuse. These works serve as case studies to enter into dialogue with the professional field and to share knowledge. Over a period of six months, talented creators will use open, reusable collections from both institutes to research, experiment and create new work.

In the area of regionalisation, several discussions have recently taken place about the possibility and desirability of centralised management and regional access to archives. Technological innovations such as virtual reality and augmented reality may play a role in this but can also nurture the idea of what the presence of a physical archive means for a place or region. More specifically, there is an opportunity to open up our archive to Rotterdam or promote its visibility also in relation to the multi-year programme Rotterdam for Real. This also ties in with the collaborative mapping initiative Concrete Blossom, with architect Arna Mackic, which explores experiences and informal structures in the city, particularly those of Rotterdam’s culturally diverse communities. 

Digital culture and archival practice

The Research & Development department proposes setting up an international research programme on the significance of the rise of digital culture and how this impacts archival practice, within the context of Closer to Architecture. This research programme is triggered by noting that the traditions and practice of archives in architecture and design culture largely originated during the period when the objects to be archived were of a material nature. Over the last ten years in particular, attention has turned to dealing with born-digital heritage—in other words, how digitisation affects design culture. A relevant practice is currently under development, but knowledge and knowledge-sharing are badly needed. The impact of networked processes on design culture, and the potential of a networked heritage practice are still under-researched areas that call for trans-disciplinary research and the development of best practices. We are looking into ways of launching such a research programme with relevant national and international parties in design cultures and on the basis of this, forming an international knowledge network for decentralised archiving.