Michelle Proksell — The Chinternet Archive
Billet de Marine Cabos-Brullé (SOAS, associée CECMC), publié sur son site Photography of China. Il est consacré à une archive d’images extraites de WeChat (Weixin 微信) depuis avril 2014 par l’artiste Michelle Proksell.
The Chinternet Archive
— Artist statement
The Chinternet Archive is an ongoing archival project which currently consists of over 40,000 images, gif animations and videos that were hand-picked from WeChat (Weixin 微信) since April 2014 by artist, researcher and curator, Michelle Proksell. The archive began from Proksell’s collaborative research on Chinese selfie culture with media anthropologist, Dr. Gabriele de Seta.
To collect this content Proksell uses a function within the WeChat app called “People Nearby,” which uses the device’s location-based services to display content from users within a 1,000 meter radius who enable the feature. In using this function, Proksell has amassed a collection of vernacular creations that span across different locales, including cities within China such as Beijing, Shanghai, Harbin, Guilin, Yanshuo, Xi’an, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong, as well as various other countries like Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, United States, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Portugal.
Each location reveals localized Chinese characteristics through the “Moments” users post. These Moments are short textual posts accompanied by one or more images, displayed in an infinite scroll similar to a Facebook feed, and consists of content that users see important enough to share with their pengyouquan 朋友圈 or friend circle. Digital content from these Moments make up the bulk of artefacts collected for The Chinternet Archive and Proksell’s acts of collecting and archiving this content position her as a kind of archaeologist of the present.