Opinion | pantxo ramas
Imperceptible Institutions
In the collapse of the European welfare state, (radical) institutional practices are becoming more and more unstable. In the cases that I will address in these blog posts, instituting practices will be encountered on the edge between state and society, and in a constant attempt of challenging, displacing, rearranging those instituted assemblages that have organised social life so far.
Decolonising Archives
The e-publication Decolonising Archives aims to show how archives bear testimony to what was, even more so than collections. Archives present documents that allow one to understand what happened and in which order. Today Internet technology, combined with rapid moves made on the geopolitical chessboard, make archives a contested site of affirmation, recognition and denial.
Project | Van Abbemuseum
The 1980s. Today's Beginnings?
"The 1980s - Today's Beginnings?" presents an alternative view on the 1980s from five different European perspectives: Slovenia, Turkey, Spain, the UK and the Netherlands. This collaborative exhibition comprises a diverse mix of artworks, music, TV, graphic and archival material, exploring a wide set of socio-political themes through the lens of culture. The different presentations and mediation programme present cultural production that took place against the mainstream, examining its role in moments of state structures in transformation.
Opinion | Ela Meh
Beyond Rehearsed Narratives and Expected Roles
Dominant discourses about refugees diligently reproduced in the media force people to repeat and get trapped in rehearsed narratives. These discourses impose on them expected roles (of being a grateful victim, for instance) which can be difficult to break out of and ultimately benefit no one. Accounts of solidarity, mutual aid and comraderie – perspectives that would underline our shared humanity – are often absent and replaced by dehumanising victimisation and sweeping generalisations.
Decolonial Sensibilities: Indigenous Research and Engaging with Archives in Contemporary Colonial Canada
Crystal Fraser, Zoe Todd
Recently the idea of reconciliation has been brought to the forefront of the Canadian socio-political terrain. Indigenous peoples battled the federal government for access to files and documents in possession of the Government of Canada pertaining to the centuries-old history of the school system, illustrating some of the nuances and complexities inherent in the question of 'decolonising the archives'. In this short piece, we first question who controls these archives?
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H[gun shot]ow c[gun shot]an I f[gun shot]orget?
Lawrence Abu Hamdan
What would it sound like if we could hear this vast database of police gunfire rather than have it ring out only in the desensitised and terrorised communities in which it is a regular occurrence. Instead of demanding our privacy be granted and rejecting this technology, we should instead be demanding more listening, more archiving in order to reverse-engineer it's selective ears.
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Presenting Pasts
Andrea Stultiens
In August 2011, Ugandan artist Rumanzi Canon and Andrea Stultiens started what they called an "archival platform" named History In Progress Uganda. They looked for collections of photographs in Uganda: in cultural, educational and governmental institutions and in people's homes, including those of photography professionals.
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A Grin Without Marker
Filipa César
We stopped calling it an archive and instead a collective milieu, an assemblage of shrapnel. To deal with the shrapnel of colonialism means to deal with all the violence that comes through it; it means embracing the conflicts related with a permanent "decolonisation of thinking" as a condition and as a never-accomplishable task.
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What's the Use?
Is art only art insofar as it refuses to be useful? Or can art practices serve a wider purpose in the world? The reader "What's the Use? Constellations of Art, History, and Knowledge" starts from the premise that art is an integral part of the social, economic, and political process. Art is best understood through its dialogue with the social sphere, rather than as a 'thing in itself'. By mapping a diverse terrain of examples and ideas, this book explores the complex interplay between art, use, history, and knowledge. The contributing writers and artists demonstrate how in past and contemporary practice these relationships are set up and played out. Editors: Nick Aikens, Thomas Lange, Jorinde Seijdel, Steven ten Thije.
Glossary of Common Knowledge | MG+MSUM
South | Geo-politics
For the referential field Geo-politics of the Glossary of Common Knowledge the narrator Mabel Tapia, an independent researcher from Buenos Aires, living in Paris, presented the term 'south', proposing that "It was both the cause and consequence of this binary division [...] both north and south share this conception, endlessly producing and then reproducing shuttered and fixed identities, univocal narratives, and all-encompassing economies. In a way, this complex — albeit simplifying — structure is not only political but biopolitical."
In Search For Queer Ancestors
Karol Radziszewski
In the post-socialist states particularly, or other contexts marked by dictatorships for example, where some historical threads were broken or could never emerge, there has been an attempt to build new national narratives. Recent history is being largely constructed today, and sometimes manipulated. Decolonising history through queer archives has become for me a mission, an "identity project".
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The Hump of Colonialism, or The Archive as a Site of Resistance
Rona Sela
While one major aspect of the Zionist-Israeli colonial mechanism is physical, another is less tangible and involves the judicious and deliberate construction of a Zionist imagery system. From the earliest days of the Zionist movement, the colonisation of Palestine was described – often with the use of visual aids – in ethical, softened and euphemistic terms aligned with and constitutive of an official narrative. Discriminatory, immoral and oppressive mechanisms have been whitewashed ever since.
חטוטרת הקולוניאליזם, או הארכיון כאתר של התנגדות
Rona Sela
המאמר עוסק בעבודתם של אמנים וחוקרים עכשוויים המאתגרים ארכיונים במדינות קולוניאליות ואזורים של קונפליקט. הוא ממשיך את מחקרי אודות ארכיונים קולוניאליים בישראל או ארכיונים בעלי היבטים קולוניאליים, מאפייניהם וההיסטוריות שלהם ומתמקד בעבודתם של אמנים פלסטינים וישראלים ושל חוקרים שקוראים מחדש ארכיונים קולוניאליים אלה
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The Archives of the Commons Seminar, Madrid, 2015
Mela Dávila Freire, Carlos Prieto del Campo, Marisa Pérez Colina, Mabel Tapia
The Archives of the Commons seminar was held on 11 and 12 December 2015 at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. It was conceptually developed through the joint work and dialogue of three institutions/ platforms: the Museo Reina Sofía, Fundación de los Comunes (Commons Foundation), and Red Conceptualismos del Sur (Southern Conceptualisms Network). The collaborative nature of the project was, in fact, the seminar's first distinctive feature: the conviction that these three agents, with their different histories, interests, and agendas, would be able to produce and share a space for dialogue and interaction on equal terms.
El Seminario "Archivos del común", Madrid, 2015
Mela Dávila Freire, Carlos Prieto del Campo, Marisa Pérez Colina, Mabel Tapia
Los objetivos del seminario eran: pensar qué es el archivo hoy, en una época de enorme volatilidad de la información, la memoria y la comunicación social, como contenedor de la memoria colectiva ligada; reflexionar sobre cómo estos archivos, que alimentan un patrimonio importante de la memoria, la experiencia y la identidad colectivas, pueden ser construidos, gestionados, conservados y abiertos a la ciudadanía; y debatir cuál sería la posible implicación de las instituciones públicas para proteger este tipo de archivos frente al doble peligro de su privatización o su invisibilización y abandono.
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Radically De-Historicising the Archive. Decolonising Archival Memory from the Supremacy of Historical Discourse
Wolfgang Ernst
Applied to memory agencies and especially the "digital archive", a new interpretation of its epistemological and aesthetic dimension as well is needed. Although the traditional archival format (spatial order, classification) will in many ways necessarily persist, the new archive is radically temporalised, "ephemeral", multi-sensual, corresponding with a dynamic user culture which is less concerned with records for eternity than with order by fluctuation.
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Archives of the Commons: Knowledge Commons, Information and Memory
Carlos Prieto del Campo
The "archives of the commons" is based on the notion of the archive as an engine for political activation in the present. It also seeks to establish devices that do not annul or objectify the grassroots systems that gave rise to these exercises in the conservation of memory, which give the archive its value and the inventive potential of a new institutionality.
Archivos del común o los commons del conocimiento, la información y la memoria
Carlos Prieto del Campo
La línea de investigación/intervención de archivos del común piensan el archivo como motor de activación política en el presente, al mismo tiempo que pretende definir dispositivos que no cancelen ni cosifiquen las dinámicas desde abajo de las que proceden esos ejercicios de conservación de la memoria en la actualidad, que dotan al mismo de todo su valor y potencial inventivo de nueva institucionalidad.
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Another Mapping of Art and Politics. The Archive Policies of Red Conceptualismos del Sur
Ana Longoni, Red Conceptualismos del Sur
Red Conceptualismos del Sur is an international platform of work, thought and collective positioning that currently has over 50 members in different countries of Latin America, Canada and Europe. It was founded at the end of 2007 by a group of researchers and artists with concerns over the need to politically intervene in the processes of neutralising the critical potential of a set of what we could call conceptual practices that took place in Latin America from the 1960s onwards.
Otro mapeo de arte y política. La RedCSur y sus políticas de archivo.
Ana Longoni, Red Conceptualismos del Sur
La Red Conceptualismos del Sur (RedCSur) fundada a finales de 2007, es una plataforma internacional de trabajo, pensamiento y toma de posición colectiva. La formaron más un grupo de más 50 investigadores y artistas preocupados por la necesidad de intervenir políticamente en los procesos de neutralización del potencial crítico de un conjunto de lo que podríamos llamar "prácticas conceptuales" que tuvieron lugar en América Latina a partir de la década de los sesenta.
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Buried (and) Alive
Jeffrey T. Schnapp
There is no single or simple answer because archives come in multiple shapes and sizes. One thing, however, seems certain: however invaluable, traditional top-down approaches to the processing of materials and the construction of archival repositories are, at best, an incomplete solution. This, because of the quantities and variety of materials involved as well as the fragility of their "qualities."
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Imagining a Culture Beyond Oil at the Paris Climate Talks
Mel Evans and Kevin Smith of Liberate Tate
Museums have a specific role to play in opening up dialogue around our active response to the prospect of climate change, which would be to try and prevent the worst impacts from unfolding. Museum directors hold the key to significant decisions around buildings, curating, learning programmes – and funding. Right now, too many large cultural institutions around the world allow oil sponsors to brand their entranceways, their catalogues and their events. For the oil companies this provides a valuable social licence to operate, a guise of social acceptability masking the harmful impacts of the fossil fuel industry.
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Theorising More-Than Human Collectives for Climate Change Action in Museums
Fiona R. Cameron
Museum scholars, professionals and artists can progress real-world and scholarly change by undertaking what I call a series of "ecologising experimentations" that have the potential to re-work the possible relations between things and people via new types of museum practices and ways to conceptualise artworks.
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Late Subatlantic. Science Poetry in Times of Global Warming
Ursula Biemann
Art has a role to play in making these processes perceptible in a way that scientific data cannot. Art can send imaginative narratives across the abstract register of the scientific voice. How weather, ice and microorganisms mediate the world is turned into something visible and audible, and hopefully comprehensible.
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Climate Risks, Art, and Red Cross Action. Towards a Humanitarian Role for Museums?
Pablo Suarez
What can museums and artists do to help address the humanitarian consequences of climate change? The best answers, of course, can only emerge from the art community itself. At the practical level there can be new or revised disaster management plans and the obvious task of reducing the carbon footprint of art-related endeavours. At a deeper level, museums, artists and other stakeholders in the world of culture could help humanity by creating exhibits, installations, and other initiatives aimed at helping us all see the climate issue with new eyes.
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