The final presenter in this morning session at "Compromised Data" is Yuk Hui, who will present a social media self-archiving project. He has worked for years on audiovisual archives, but much of the work on this field has focussed on institutional rather than personal archives, with the latter often concerned mainly with privacy issues.
But another set of problems relates to data management instead: we are working with multiple cloud-based systems, but rarely archive our digital objects effectively - archiving is not just about storing, but about preserving the context of digital objects as well: the digital milieu.
The milieu for Isaac Newton was the invisible ether which was seen to enable the transmission of light and other invisible processes; today, there is a digital milieu which has replaced the ether and is even more complex and powerful - it incorporates the many tools and services which are now available to us.
Earlier understandings of milieux include the atmosphere, light, water, and other fundamental forces, which enable adaptation and evolution: natural conditions (e.g. the availability of climate and food) drive natural selection, but for Darwin such conditions also include inter- and intra-species interactions rather than merely natural, environmental conditions. This ultimately divides the milieu into specific setting, general environment, and surrounding universe, and moves us closer to the idea of context.
Context provides another order of granularity in understanding the milieu: in the digital milieu, bots and algorithms provide us with specific contextual recommendations based on their analysis of our milieux, for example. In the process, we are also increasingly less able to archive our digital objects, however: this opens up a new struggle between the being and its milieu.
One way to understand this is through the concept of the associated milieu: a local milieu that surrounds objects and intervenes between the central being and its general milieu. Through this, machines themselves are also able to emerge as technical beings, and humans are positioned as mere operators, removed from the centre of this system.
To construct a personal archive, then, is to construct an associated milieu for ourselves. This requires a self-archiving practice and the tools to support it - annotating our digital objects through metadata as well as developing various sharing methods, including offline libraries.