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Ibraaz Platform 006

The role of the archive in critical and culturally located art histories

005 / 29 July 2013

Theme and Questions to be addressed:


What role can the archive play in developing and sustaining a critical and culturally located art history?


Research Questions and Subjects:


1. What is the historical role of archives and how are they being utilised by artists and institutions across the region?


2. What forms of knowledge are being produced by archives both in terms of artistic and institutional practices?


3.  Why have archives become a dominant aesthetic strategy in the work of artists?   


4. Specifically, how are archives used in the recollection of trauma, the negotiation of conflict, the reconstruction of individual and collective memories, the reimagining of the future, and the problematisation of the document in art practices across the region?


5.  What, in cultural and political terms, is the importance of archiving art in the region, and its practical and intellectual challenges?


6.  If we assume that there is a lack of a definitive archive of contemporary art in the region, does it follow that significant gaps have emerged in the art historical knowledge of local practitioners and does that, in turn, complicate aspects of localised art history?


7.  What forms of knowledge are lost in the absence of a critically deployed and culturally located archiving system?


8.  What role can art criticism and art publishing play in producing a more rigorous discursive system for analyzing, critiquing and archiving cultural production across the region – and what, if any, have been its failings thus far?



Ibraaz will publish Platform 006 responses on the 2nd November 2013, and publicise these further at our upcoming Critical Art Forum at Tate Modern on 9th November 2013. We will also publish a selection of responses in our upcoming print volume in partnership with I. B. Tauris (2014).

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