Against the background of the transformation of a private collection into a public institution, the international Congress focuses on practices, visibilities, and politics in and around the archive. The Congress takes place within the dynamic setting: The structures of the Archive Viewing shift to host the Congress program. The archival documents and artworks remain in the space and create a constellation of tactile material that frames the various formats. Scientists, archivists, curators, and artists discuss archival methods, propose new possibilities for activating archive material, and analyze the politics and paradigms of archives presenting case studies that examine archival materials through their role as tactile, visual, or oral historical and contemporary testimonies. Starting from the basic idea of collecting, the Congress reflects the vulnerability and visibilities, the terminologies and the transformation of current and future archives. The Congress contributors also consider the limits and responsibilities of existing archival institutions and speculate about alternatives to such structures. Which experiential and memory spaces can archives and collections reflect, and which do they generate themselves? What is the relationship between archives and canonization processes and what technologies, labor structures, and social processes are part of archival practices? How can we imagine the concepts, narratives, and aesthetics of future archives?
2 pm—2.15 pm
Marion Ackermann (General Director of Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden) and Bernd Scherer (Director of Haus der Kulturen der Welt)
2.15 pm—3.15 pm
Collecting the Archive of the Avant-Gardes
The archive starts with the act of collecting. These processes are framed by individual actors, figures, and positions that circulate around and within the archival body. These subjective perspectives shape the characteristics of an archival corpus, its biography, readability, and framing narratives. Art historian and curator Beatrice von Bismarck speaks with the collector Egidio Marzona about strategies, concepts, and systematics of collecting and assembling, discussing the roles these specific modes of production are playing in the transformation of a collection into an archival institution.
3.15 pm—4.30 pm
The Art of the Archive
Lecture and Presentation
How does the archive influence artistic practices and what is the role of the artist in the archive? Archival strategies and methods were part of contemporary artistic practice throughout the 20th century. This also shaped the idea of what an archive can be in relation to specific times, social contexts, and political conditions. Starting from the ideas of Moscow Conceptualism, artist, curator, and archivist Vadim Zakharov and art historian Sven Spieker discuss the possibilities of relating to a history that officially never existed and the artistic practices that make such histories accessible in the present.
5 pm—7 pm
The Vulnerable Archive
The panel engages with issues of vulnerability, sustainability, and strategies of archiving for independent and small to mid-scale initiatives, discussing practices that will allow more fragile institutions to write their own practice into history, and on their own terms. Common features that recur between the variety of projects presented by the speakers of the panels, are an engagement with sound archives (from oral history to music) and ephemerality and an engagement with the tasks of (re) writing a history (that is both local and global) that has been denied. The projects presented have started from a position of vulnerability and urgency; they are archives working against malevolent and rigorous acts of erasure.
Concept: Antonia Alampi and Bonaventure S. B. Ndikung, SAVVY Contemporary
8 pm—10 pm
Archiving the Avant-Garde: Elsewhere and Otherwise
Keynote and Discussion
In this lecture, Ann Laura Stoler addresses the principles and politics of authorizations that name things or people ‘avant-garde’. In so doing, she asks what issues might be raised, what problematics might be underscored, and what politics might be mandated by a naming and locating of an ‘avant-garde’ askew to but decidedly in relationship with its Euro-American center. In culling and curating ‘an-other’ archive, might we also find the tools and political grammar to identify an avant-garde poised on the fractious faultlines of colonialism and imperial violences, animating new ways of fracturing that force now?
Ann Laura Stoler (The New School for Social Research, New York), discussion with Marcelo Rezende (Director of Archiv der Avantgarden)
2 pm—3 pm
Narrations and Displays of the Archive
Archival objects are much more than a record or representation of a past condition; they provoke a certain relationship between past, present, and future while mobilizing temporal and topographic categories. Therefore it seems necessary to take a look at approaches of narrating and displaying archival objects and the archive itself, in order to develop strategies that integrate marginalized or invisible realities of the past for a better understanding of contemporary complexities. Doreen Mende, Gloria Meynen, and reflect on the role digitization plays in our understanding of displaying the archive and the processes that make the archive’s materialized descriptions of complex narrations, relations, and resistances of the materials visible.
Doreen Mende (HEADGeneva, Geneva University of Art and Design), Gloria Meynen (Culture and Media Scholar), and Daniel Rosenberg (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science), moderated by Sarah E. James (Historian and Writer)
Concept: Haus der Kulturen der Welt
3.30 pm—4.30 pm
The Alternative Archive
Lecture and Conversation
To question existing power relations, it has been and remains necessary to engage with existing archives while also establishing alternative archives. However, it is not sufficient to just address the gaps. It is also vital to identify the responsibilities associated with the history of epistemic violence, with its exclusions and injurious systems, and to deduce the consequences from this. Against this background, the task is to subject the public, likewise as commons, to a critical revaluation. If institutions wish to do justice to this imperative, then they must develop in directions that brake from those currently being pursued. This is necessary as, in addition to mere lip service, we are confronted with many economization and privatization tendencies hidden to greater or lesser degrees; and, especially in the field of digitalization, with a secret selling-off of the public. How can this be counteracted? The artist Daniel G. Andujar speaks of ‘democratizing democracy by tracking the code’.
Nora Sternfeld(Documenta Professor at Kunsthochschule Kassel), in conversation with Marcelo Rezende (Director of Archiv der Avantgarden)
5 pm—7 pm
Migrating the Archive
Cimatheque – Alternative Film Centre, located in Downtown Cairo, organizes film screenings and workshops and runs a library, a moving image archive, and a lab. The archive houses diverse materials including manuscripts, documents, photographs, rare film magazines, official reports, diaries, and film storyboards. It holds 35mm copies and ephemera from reputable cinematic works from the region and beyond, alongside found footage, amateur films, commercials, newsreels and experimental documen-taries. Cimatheque’s archive was built around a sense of urgency in a context where the state doesn’t allow people access to their moving-image history. It is opening its growing collection to the public, questioning official narratives and giving space to marginalized ones to exist. The archive is currently being digitized with the aim of establishing a duplicate in Berlin: the shelter is itself in the need of a shelter. Based on this Tamer El Said, co-founder of Cimatheque, discusses together with the other panelists the following questions: apart from being the digital version of an analog archive, in what other ways does the archive differ from its original once the duplicate has migrated to a new location? How does the surrounding of an archive define its holdings?
With Filipa César (Filmmaker, Artist, and Curator), Mohamad Shawky Hassan (Filmmaker) and Tamer El Said (Filmmaker and Co-Founder of Cimatheque, Cairo), moderated by Stefanie Schulte Strathaus (Director of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art)
Concept: Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art
8 pm—9.15 pm
Sampling the Archive
In this performative lecture, Lynnée Denise discusses an approach to the sonic archives she calls DJ Scholarship, to talk about the life of singer and musician Willie Mae Thornton. Digging through the crates of Thornton’s life, DJ Lynnée Denise tells the story of music migration, exploring the Thornton’s gendered and racialized experiences and launching an inquiry into the politics of adlibs, a feature of black music often ignored in traditional archival practices. Denise talks about her desire to ‘queer the Chitlin’ Circuit’ and demonstrates how this interdisciplinary work gathers scattered and fragmented histories of black women artists who are dangerously missing from discourse about the roots of American rock’n’roll.
With Lynnée Denise (DJ)
From Dawn to Dusk: The Bird of Paradise
‘Leave your home with a cool head and carrying a briefcase full of birdcalls of the kind used by hunters, as well as a portable tape recorder slung across your back on a carrying strap. You will use it at the proper time to play a tape, which has also been placed in the briefcase. Once outside you begin your performance of The Hunt by crossing over to the sidewalk on a far side of the street with respect to the building you have just left. After observing this building for several minutes you will then begin to walk.’
With Miles Sjögren (Performance) Enactment of Walter Marchetti, The Bird of Paradise. Hunting in the City (1977), initiated by Olaf Nicolai (artist)
With Lynnée Denise (DJ)
11.30 am—12.45 pm
The Material and Immaterial of the Archive
Performance, Talk and Video
The immateriality of the art of dance poses a challenge to archives: as a movement itself cannot be archived, notes and physical carriers become the main source for its documentation. A sequence of movements can be learned using video, a choreography can be described by its author, but how detailed can this be? What about the intentions, the thoughts, and the stories that led to the creation of these movements? Where is the depository of this information? The closer to the source we are able to document, the richer in subtleties, background, and details is the documentation that flows back into the archive. Those added details and subtleties can help a new dancer to build a framework of understanding and contexts, giving them the freedom to make the dance their own. In an attempt to present various formats that document and transmit ephemeral art, this panel presents a live dance rehearsal, an oral history talk, and video material.
Concept: Pina Bausch Foundation
1 pm—3 pm
Imagining the Archival Institution
Lecture and Roundtable
The zero point of an archive is difficult to locate. The archive is in constant metamorphosis; a place of decay and becoming. In this intermediate and transitional state, it always contains a multiplicity of categorization and time systems. This field of tension unfolds a place of knowledge production and a space of imagination at the same time. This panel examines this state of the archive more closely with experts from the museum sector, art, and theory. How do archival institutions deal with change? How can a pluralized concept of the archive arise from the field of tension between the conserved materiality of archival objects on one hand and the constant transformation in the meaning of such materials on another? How can the Archiv der Avantgarden be an example of this?
With Beatrice von Bismarck (Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig) with Marion Ackermann (Director of Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden) Anton Belov (Garage Museum), and Olaf Nicolai (Artist), moderated by Bernd Scherer (HKW)
Concept: Haus der Kulturen der Welt and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden