Uncertain Archives: Adapting Cultural Theories of the Archive to Understand the Risks and Potentials of Big Data – University of Copenhagen

Home > Research > Uncertain Archives

Daniela Agostinho

Daniela Agostinho


Daniela Agostinho is a visual and cultural theorist whose 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 culture. 

She is the recipient of a Mads Øvlisen postdoctoral fellowship awarded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. She is also affiliated with the Uncertain Archives research group (www.uncertainarchives.dk).

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, where she taught courses in Performativity and Visual Culture. 

Her main areas of interest are Cultural Theory, Visual Culture, Feminist, Postcolonial and decolonial theory, Film and Moving Image Studies, and Digital Culture. She currently works on the politics of digitization of colonial archives, the visual culture of remote warfare, in particular drone warfare, and cultural theories of big data, in particular feminist and post and decolonial critiques of datafication. 

She is also 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). 

In addition to Uncertain Archives, she is affiliated with two networks: Algorithmic Software Cultures and Research Network on Drones and Aesthetics


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, Curating and Colonial 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 Future Archives. 


Archival Encounters: Ethics of Care, Curating and Colonial 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 and decolonial theories, film and moving image studes 

ID: 156728553