[re]Encoding the Archive

v1.0 by: Michael Takeo Magruder, 2021

A visual art exhibition exploring The National Archives' journey into the Digital Age.

Exhibition Documentation:

About the Project:

[re]Encoding the Archive is an arts-research project and exhibition that explores The National Archives' journey into the Digital Age. The work reflects on how the institution, as the official keeper of the records of the United Kingdom, has developed various infrastructures and services that have created new ways for the public to engage with and connect to the nation's history.

Originally conceived for The National Archives' first floor exhibition space at its Kew site, the project consists of three newly commissioned artworks that have arisen from in-depth dialogue and collaboration with experts from the institution's departments of Digital Archiving, Legislation Services, and Collection Care. These installations highlight important issues such as safeguarding digital records, expanding access to legislation, and conserving documents in a world where the digital and physical are increasingly entwined. [re]Encoding the Archive seeks to reveal many of the evolving challenges and transformational possibilities surrounding archives in the 21st century.


Portrait of the Dark Archive - a physical data sculpture that portrays the architecture and scale of The National Archives' digital repository.

Corpus of Law - an aesthetic 3D visualisation that illustrates the entire 800-year recorded history of legislation in the United Kingdom.

Public Records Act 1958–2020 - a unique physical document that is a contemporary digital rendition of the UK's Public Records Act 1958.

In Collaboration with:

Martin McGrath [ exhibition design ] . Drew Baker [ Corpus of Law: 3D visualisation & programming ]

With Thanks to:

Delia Brooks [ TNA: project development ] . Departments of Collection Care, Digital Archiving, and Legislation Services [ TNA: artwork creation ] . Hannah Fleming [ TNA: exhibition support ] . Emma Puente [ media production ] . MER Services [ display construction ] . Type Creative Ltd [ printing services ]

Supported by:

[re]Encoding the Archive v1.0 was commissioned and produced by The National Archives, UK for its Kew site (Winter 2021 - Spring 2022). The project and resulting artworks were acquired by the institution in 2021 to be part of its permanent art collection.

Online Resources:

© TAKEO 2021