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Platform for discussion 006

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


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6 November 2013
Maryam Jafri

From the photo-text series Getty vs. Ghana (2012).

6 November 2013
Joy Garnett

When family members die they take their memories, facts and figures with them. Their stories, as well as their lies and omissions, become harder to track after they've gone. They leave behind mountains of material, with few entry points. If you dare to enter, you will find yourself alone in the archive.

6 November 2013
Hassan Darsi

I felt the desire to examine the reverse process: what in art history and, more specifically, in the making of art, can contribute to the development of an archiving process?

6 November 2013
Mohamed Abdelkarim

Through art practices, particularly in this region, the artist might slip into this muddy area, which is mostly based on fetishes and collective political memory and which somehow stands on the most influential component of media archive. It is not necessarily only that which is visible and legible, but more an area that relies on the storytelling archive.

6 November 2013
Mounir Fatmi

Working with archives is a relatively new development, only recently have artists and institutions had access to archives. In the Middle East in general, the idea of the archive and of history is very vague. Even the idea of archiving, of having an institution that holds an archive, is new.

6 November 2013
Sandra Skurvida

I envision the liberation of an archive (from attachment to a person, state, or region) through its transfiguration into a database. This emancipation requires dematerialization and displacement.

6 November 2013
Nada Shabout

...one of the main problems with modernity in the Arab World is the lack of credibility, criticality and scrutiny in understanding, presenting, and evaluating its nature and objects.

6 November 2013
Héla Ammar

The conceptual turn of the 1970s gave full legitimacy to queries into the document and the archive. Issues of memory become the favourite material of contemporary artists. Yet, in Tunisia, we missed the conceptual turn of the 1970s – it took us until the start of the revolution in 2011 to question our memory, since it became clear that we would not be able to understand the turmoil of our present and ask questions about our future if we were not able to know our past. Unfortunately, this past has been largely confiscated by the last two authoritarian regimes, which have written their own history.

6 November 2013
Laura U. Marks

Akira Mizuta Lippit, in Atomic Light (Shadow Optics), characterizes the shadow archive as what cannot be archived, and therefore survives when the archive is destroyed. The shadow archive describes the majority of Arab cultural memory, which survives in non-visual traces, such as the work done by memory and imagination in response to an archival fragment, or the lack of any physical archive at all.

6 November 2013
Rona Sela

The Soldier: 'Indeed, I took these photographs from the pocket of a dead Arab, killed in Bab Al-Wad in the beginning of May 1948.

6 November 2013
Ian Almond

The idea of the art archive in the Middle East provokes a number of associations – some of them spiritual, some historical, some clearly political.

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