Welcome to the Whole Life Repository, a dynamic, growing mapping structure that hosts multi-format contributions on archival practices and experimental research methodologies within the context of The Whole Life: An Archive Project.

The long-term initiative The Whole Life: An Archive Project asks about what archives can offer for the transformations of our time. The research program is conceptualized and realized in cooperation with Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art / Archive Außer SichStaatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) and the Pina Bausch Foundation. The project aims to collaboratively develop model practices for dealing with archives that not only focus on conservation, perpetuation and self-preservation, but also yield new approaches and archival methodologies that can serve as resources for contemporary knowledge production practices in archival contexts. This online platform serves as the project’s developing online repository. It gathers multimedia materials and posts, sharing the various experimental research methods, processes and results of The Whole Life: An Archive Project with the public.

As a central element of the project, the international Whole Life Academy was launched in 2019. It forms an experimental, collaborative research initiative that advances methodologies of site- and material-specific research in archives.

The underlying principle of this website is the collaborative approach of the Whole Life Academy as the development of a “nomadic curriculum.” This term describes a flexible research environment that constantly evolves by navigating between heterogeneous bodies of knowledge in and among various archival locations. Through this movement, the Academy community constantly recontextualizes archival holdings. The approach connects objects, temporalities, narratives and actors from different contexts by examining how they are related. The focus is therefore more on peripheries than on isolated units of discrete archival settings or thematic categorizations.

Using this approach, the website establishes a dynamic structure that embeds the posts in a complex system of relationality. A collectively developed, constantly growing set of keywords forms the basis for the website’s mapping structure. This set of keywords and its application was generated in a close dialogue between a working group of the Whole Life Academy and the project team and partners. Each contribution is attached to a number of keywords through a scaling system, emphasizing the gradient of relatedness that pushes against a standardized system of categorization. Through that, a more complex grid of relationality unfolds, connecting contributions to one another through the spatial realm. Thus, the keywords allow the posts to encounter and relate to one another. The map enables a nomadic search approach by displaying the entries’ connections along its digital folds. Guided by their own interests, users can explore the posts and ultimately create a personalized reader that reflects their individual movement through the materials and expands across the limits of categorization.