The question gripping me of late is: what do we do with all the amazing digital stuff we have created? How to make it readily accessible, yet durable into the future; mashable, yet linked to its original version; safe, yet reflective of the risks and ephemeral nature of many of our exchanges? What should be forgotten and what should be preserved? In the process of preserving our archive, how do we go about simultaneously “ripping apart and rebuilding the machinery of the archive and database so that it doesn’t reproduce the logic that got us here in the first place,” as Miriam Posner specified? I don’t have any immediate answers, so instead I want to point to a few places that we as a collective might look for ideas.
Some contributors to FemTechNet have a right to be forgotten. We acknowledge that when certain people or groups share experiences, this exposure can be unsafe for them, as María Lugones stressed: “Disclosing our secrets threatens our survival.” Thinking that sharing their experiences might be saved in some way could silence expression for some; far better to foster “e-Femerality,” the transitory, ephemeral connections that allow for feminist connections that then evaporate. As FemTechNet quoted Grace Hong in a recent collective statement: “[F]or women of color feminist practice, visibility is a rupture, an impossible articulation….[V]isibility is not inclusion, but surveillance.” Rodney Carter noted that in addition to avoiding surveillance, “By remaining outside the archive, the narratives must remain alive.”