Digital Communities

Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions

858 Archive


858 Archive is an initiative by The Mosireen Media Collective to make public all the footage shot and collected during the Egypt revolution in 2011 and later. Some of the footage has been seen before, in videos we edited and uploaded to YouTube. But much of it is being made publicly accessible for the first time—this is the raw, unedited footage shot and gathered over the years.

The archive has 858 hours of indexed, time-stamped video material along with thousands more photographs and documents. All together they present thousands of histories of revolt told from hundreds of perspectives. 858 is, of course, just one archive of the revolution. It is not, and can never be, the archive. It is one collection of memories, one set of tools we can all use to fight the narratives of the counter-revolution, to pry loose the state’s grip on history, to keep building new histories for the future.

In the first days of the uprising, a Media Tent was established in Tahrir Square. Hundreds of videos were collected from dozens of people, men and women, young and old, who had filmed key events on their cameras and cell phones and wanted to contribute to the digital memory of the moment, in particular to document police abuse and the killing of protesters. The Mosireen Collective came together in early 2011, its members were a part of the protest movement. We filmed and collected footage from across Egypt, in factories, hospitals, unions, and morgues. We held trainings in street media in Cairo and across the country. In our workspace we hosted events, discussions, and film screenings. We weren’t neutral observers, but actors within a wider struggle. We participated and documented at the same time. We were engaged in a battle of narratives, of revolution against the counter-revolution of the Army, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Old Regime.

The military coup in the summer of 2013 changed everything. After the massacre at Rabaa al-Adawiyya we were paralyzed. Draconian protest laws, an arch-conservative judiciary, a resurgent and vengeful police force, and an acute societal depression cut down our ability to work. Filming was more dangerous than ever and we were adrift between the two poles of the military and the Muslim Brotherhood that now dominated the public discourse. Oversaturated with images of violence and embracing of the military’s promise of an impending calm, public interest in Mosireen’s work dwindled. Our role became uncertain and soon we stopped working entirely. We needed to take a break to deal with the feeling of defeat and to find a way to work within the new political reality. The result of the work and the effort of hundreds of people is the 858 Archive.


The Mosireen Media Collective

The Mosireen Media Collective is a non-profit media collective born out of the explosion of citizen journalism and cultural activism in Egypt during the revolution. From 2011-2014 it held a space in downtown Cairo that was a revolutionary activist hub dedicated to supporting and producing citizen media of all kinds—including publishing videos, providing training, technical support, campaign support, equipment, screenings, and events, alongside hosting an extensive archive of footage from the revolution. At its height Mosireen’s YouTube channel was the most watched non-profit channel in the world. Campaigns and initiatives Mosireen supported include No To Military Trials for Civilians, Kazeboon, Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment, Freedom for The Brave, and Tahrir Cinema, amongst others. The 858 Archive is a collective project that is beyond Mosireen. Mosireen is today’s curators and initial enablers, but our dream is that one day it will be administered by others.