An Archive of Resistance
Reviewed by: Lola Shehu-Endo
Review started: March 23, 2021, 2021
Review finished: April 26, 2021
Data and Sources
- 858 hours of video
- The site is a (growing) collection of hours of raw and unedited footage and other visual materials collected since the Egyptian Revolution of 2011
- Videos are uncut and represent different perspectives of the revolution
- Videos were recorded and collected during the Egyptian Revolution in Tahir Square and across Egypt by the Mosireen Collective, who were active participants of the revolution
- Videos have been indexed
- There is no designed experience for a visitor of this archive. There are directions on how to use the archive in both Arabic and English, but there are no exhibitions, highlights, or directed paths through which to experience the materials.
- The design of the site is just as raw as the videos, but the videos are clearly indexed and easy to search. They are organized in 32 different categories including time, date, keyword, size, topic, places, etc.
- Sometimes annotations are thorough, but most of the time the info only places the footage in context.
Digital Tools Used to Build It
- Based on pan.do/ra, a free, open-source platform for media archives
- Wappalyzer analysis of https://858.ma/home: Ubuntu operating system; Nginx web server and reverse proxy
- Arabic, English, and some sound on video in French and Spanish translated into English
While the regime is using every resource to clamp down on public space and public memory the time has come to excavate and remember and re-present our histories.
858: An Archive of Resistance was created by the Mosireen Collective, a volunteer media activist collective that came together during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, a protest movement they were a part of to document and make public images of the Egyptian Revolution.
858 is a platform where memory and activism interact closely and seem to be viewed by the organizers/creators/collectors of this project as one and the same. This archive was created in part as a preventative measure to anticipated efforts by the Egyptian government to reshape and control the memory of the protests, especially as the international media’s attention moved away from Egypt. 858 is the product of years of work by hundreds of people who collected the videos since 2011. The site is a (growing) collection of hours of raw and unedited footage and other visual materials collected since the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. Videos are uncut and indexed and represent different perspectives of the revolution. All footage is published under a Creative Commons license, and API documentation is public with no limitations for use. Any visitor can easily create an account and edit and collect documents.
Outside of preserving the public and visual memories of the revolution, the creators of 858 present this archive “to serve purposes yet unknown.” As someone interested in gender during times of political upheaval, this archive is a veritable treasure of primary sources. Many of the videos show women and men working and having intense discussions together in group meetings, which testify to the role of women in this revolution. The diversity of many women interviewed all over Egypt is especially important and valuable. I found myself wishing for some of the videos to be translated, but I think the raw unedited footage is very important.