Platform for discussion006
What role can the archive play in developing and sustaining a critical and culturally located art history?
Inventory of a reality: The case of The Model Project
Upon asking myself this question, naturally 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? Could the two not be intimately interlinked through some creative process? Can some works, because of their form, their conceptualization, and their conception, go beyond the field of art to venture into the maze of inventorying, relying on documentary forms or representing situations and contextual realities?
The case of The Model Project.
At the very beginning of the project around Hermitage Park, a question immediately arose: what art form allows one to understand the reality of a given territory in all its complexity? The idea of a model as a statement of this reality became an obvious one, as much for the notion of scale that it can bring to the perspective, as for the work of inventorying and archiving of reality which is required to make it.
Conducted over a period of two years, the Model draws up very accurate inventories of what the park was made up of physically at the time, while at the same time bearing witness to the social, cultural, political and economic mechanisms of a period; the territory of the park itself being, to scale, a 'model' of the reality of a city or a country...
Thus, the artistic project also became a tool that allowed for the recording of this reality, and the parallel and simultaneous production of debate. It offered, at a glance, a form, while claiming the status of 'art object' which it holds inherently: the lost poetry of a place, the tragedy of abandonment, economic prerogatives, real estate claims, corruption, poverty, social disorganization. This was the formal, artistic, and strategic challenge of the Model.
Today, as the restoration of the park makes a clean sweep of the process developed by artists, the Model, inventories, tools, documents and archives (texts, films), books, and academic papers all participate in the archiving of the history of this place well beyond, more precisely, and in a more 'real' way than the city administration could have done.
What is a platform?
A platform is a space for speaking in public. It is an opportunity to express ideas and thoughts. It also suggests the formal declaration of a stance or position on any given subject.
Unique to Ibraaz is a 'platform', a question put to writers, thinkers and artists about an issue relevant to the MENA region. This platform is sent to respondents both within and beyond the MENA region and contributions will be archived every 12 months.