IMAGE, ARCHIVE & CONFLICT
(Im)material Ecologies in the Digital Age
22-23 Sept 2023
ONLINE | 10:00am - 6:00pm (WEST)
FRIDAY, 22 SEPTEMBER ONLINE | 10:00am - 6:00pm (WEST)
Ana Catarina Pinho, conference convener
PROF. ANNA MARÍA GUASCH University of Barcelona, Spain
THE PERFORMATIVE ARCHIVE
The material, immaterial and corporeal in archive-conflict relations
In the text "Manifest for a Slow Archive" (2016) Sven Spieker discusses the Slow Archive, a sort of third way to introduce an equidistant element between the material archive and big data. This conference will also seek a third view to introduce a third equidistant element between the material and the immaterial: the performative archive. The inclusion of "performativity" brings up not only temporality and duration but corporality, where active agents are not only inert documents and their derived narratives and histories but the individuals who tell and play these stories and interrelate with other individuals to make sense of the past, the present and future. Above all, I will examine the relations among archives, interdisciplinary research, knowledge production, and political practices.
The work of Stefanos Tsivopoulos (Precarious Archive, 2015), Tania El Khoury (The Search of Power, 2018) and Marco Scotini, Disobedience Archive [Ders Bitti] (2005-) exemplifies this performative dimension and will lead us to raise questions, such as: How do archives shape social realities? What sort of practices activate archival materials? How can activism in the field of the archive challenge classical forms of narrative and transfer of knowledge? How can archives mirror contemporary issues and advance future knowledge? These questions have been addressed in other contexts, such as the project, The Whole Life: Archives and Reality (Dresde, 2019).
Through three cases of study, we will discuss the "performative archive", between the anarchive, unarchivable, and the anti-archive, as a productive space for conflict, understanding as productive an archival mode that reveals itself as a space in which documents and testimonies open up a state of struggle and dispute, reaffirming the archive as a key place for political power.
Anna Maria Guasch is Professor of Global Art History and Art Criticism at the University of Barcelona. Guasch directs and coordinates Global Art Archive (GAA), a research group that studies archives and their role as a liaison between collective memory and individual development. Her most recent books are El arte en la era de lo global. 1989-2015 (Madrid, Alianza, 2016) and The Codes of the Global in the Twenty-first Century (AGI/Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona, 2018).
Chair: Laura Singeot
Reims University, France
The Past made Present: Visualising conflict through aesthetic forms of representation
Chair: Ana Catarina Pinho
IHA, Nova University of Lisbon
Photography, Montage, and Archive
An atlas of a dictatorship and its landscapes
This proposal will reflect on my artistic practice and theoretical research as it produced a body of work called "Concrete Witnesses Inquiry". It is an artistic investigation placed in between history and landscape, created through photography and archival work. It seeks to give visibility to a long-lasting (but largely ignored) military and authoritarian tradition in Brazilian politics. My starting point was a set of road structures built in my hometown during the so-called civil-military dictatorship (1964-1985). Throughout the work, I sought to associate those structures, often considered to be ordinary and insignificant, and the violent regime that produced them, often considered a distant immaterial abstraction (albeit one that tortured, censured and murdered hundreds of Brazilians). While photography was the starting point of this work, it soon expanded into the writing of texts and the creation of a digital archive, organizing a variety of media (from newspaper articles to paintings and decrees). This process was permeated by theoretical research and conceptual reflections, which continually shaped (and were shaped by) the practical work. This practical-theoretical process will be addressed in this presentation as well as its final result: an atlas-like installation, presented along with the photographic images from which the work was born.
Gustavo Balbela (b. Porto Alegre, Brazil, 1997) is an artist, designer and researcher. He holds a master in fine arts from UFRGS’s Institute of Arts and works as designer and editor at Austral Edições. Gustavo develops his artistic production through the creation and collection of technical images, presented on installations or publications. His work investigates, from personal perspectives, issues related to globalization, imperialism and authoritarianism.
University of Coimbra, Portugal
Rethinking the ‘temporal turn’ in contemporary art
Artist’s concept of history and their use of archive photography in tackling dissonant Portuguese past
Historical research and the reuse of archive materials became central to contemporary art from the 1980s onwards. This "temporal turn" has been abundantly documented and theorized in the last decades. However, related questions have been sidelined. This paper addresses two, focusing on concrete pieces by three mixed media contemporary Portuguese artists – Paulo Mendes, Vasco Araújo, and Filipa César – whose work uses historical photography.
Firstly, I analyze these artists' notions of historiography based on interviews. They engage in different history-making, representation, dissemination, and consumption processes. Their work brings into light squashed episodes, agents, and actors of Portugal's most dissonant and conflicting pasts: its colonial empire (1415-1975) and the fascist period the country experienced (1933-1974). Secondly, by tackling one example for each body of work, I analyze the role of historical photography in them in order to question the conceptual novelty of contemporary art's "temporal turn" when compared to 19th-century painting. This exercise is not designed to simply emphasize the long tradition underlying the inventive use of history in visual arts. Its purpose does not end with identifying common denominators. Instead, in conclusion, this exercise proposes the distinguishable characteristics present in the contemporary use and rewriting of history in and through art.
Joana Brites is a Tenured Assistant Professor of Modern Art, Romanticism, Theory of Art History and Theory and History of Heritage at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, where she coordinates the PhD Programme in Art History. Brites completed her master's (2008) and doctorate (2012) in Art History and is an Integrated Researcher at Coimbra's University Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies. Her research focuses on the art of authoritarian regimes (particularly the case of Portuguese Estado Novo); colonialism and modern architecture; dissonant heritage and history use in contemporary art; Portuguese sculpture of 19th and 20th centuries.
University of the Arts London, United Kingdom
Presenting the past into the present
Artistic interventions into archives in the former Yugoslavia
This paper explores artists from the former Yugoslavia working with archival sources from the conflict, reinterpreting and representing them into the gallery and museal space to uncover material hidden in the contested histories of the region. They engage with personal and public human rights, the complexities of transitional justice, the contested term of ‘reconciliation’, and issues of gender and history. The Serbian artist Vladimir Miladinović draws material from a range of sources including newspaper archives, and court transcripts and evidence submitted to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Miladinović’s testimonial transformation of the evidential material of the judicial process buried in the enormity of the vast archives of the ICTY is a performative act of bearing witness creating a new aesthetic form of the representation of trauma. The Bosnian artist Adela Jusič’s video pieces deal with the trauma of her own family experience during the siege of Sarajevo, with a trilogy of works that deal with the intertwining of the symbolic and contested role of sniping during the siege of Sarajevo and Jusić’s own autobiography.
Dr. Paul Lowe is a Professor in Photography at the LCC, University of the Arts, London, UK. He is an award-winning photographer, educator and researcher, whose work is represented by VII Photos. His research interest focuses on the visual and media representations of conflict, genocide, trauma and human rights abuses, particularly in the area of the Former Yugoslavia. His most recent books include Photography Masterclass (Thames and Hudson), Understanding Photojournalism, co-authored with Dr. Jenny Good, (Bloomsbury Academic Press), Reporting the Siege of Sarajevo co-authored with Kenneth Morrison (Bloomsbury) and Photography and Bearing Witness in the Balkan Wars 1988-2015: Testimonies of Light (Routledge).
Gaps, Dissonances, and Fictional Imaginaries in Archival Practices
Chair: Arola Valls
University of Barcelona, Spain
Concordia University, Canada
Sonny Assus’s intervention on the imaginary
Mediating postcolonial and aesthetic theory
This paper explores Ligwilda’xw (Kwakwaka;waka Nation) multimedia artist, Sonny Assu’s Interventions on the Imaginary Series, as an intervention into the colonial aesthetics of landscape in British Columbia, Canada. Digitally imposing scenes of extra-terrestrial contact onto Emily Carr’s depictions of the Pacific Northwest, Assu’s work both critiques Canada’s national art archive and illuminates how aesthetics and colonial power intersect within it. In reimagining Carr’s work through the explicit frame of frontier encounter and otherworldly contact, Assu conjures the colonial subtext haunting Carr’s much-lauded scenes of north coastal wilderness. Simultaneously, Assu’s reframing is generative, indicating how aesthetic techniques and vernaculars such as neon, opacity, and digital mediums, are laden with anticolonial potential. In relation to Carr’s earthy hues, Assu’s bold neon, conjuring of modernity and technological innovation, invokes the capacity for art to reclaim territory, both real and imagined, and usher decolonial futures. Assu’s Interventions hence, orients to the political significance of the Canadian art archive, as an articulation of the national imaginary and settler colonialism. Simultaneously, Interventions renders the archive a site laden with decolonial potential—a venue where Canada’s politics of seeing are both productively interrogated, reframed, and hence, seen differently.
Sadie Barker (@blaise_barker) is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at Concordia University and the co-founder/co-editor of Refractions: A Journal of Postcolonial Cultural Criticism. Her research explores the relations between aesthetic and postcolonial theory by way of visual art, television, and literature. Her writing can be found (or is forthcoming) in Canadian Literature, Women & Performance, Post45, ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, English Studies in Canada, Refractions, and elsewhere.
University of Zurich, Switzerland
Appropriation / Re-mediation
On artistic strategies dealing with violence in contemporary Latin American art
A growing number of artworks in recent decades address violence as a phenomenon linked to history and politics around the world. This violence has to do, in most cases, with past political and social conflicts that have marked the development of contemporary nation-states. A remarkable number of Latin American artists have dealt with violent conflicts in their works, especially in Argentina, Colombia or Mexico. This presentation will focus on artistic practices that re-elaborate the recent violent past by appropriating and re-mediating digital visual archives. These artistic re-elaborations call on for reparations to victims and for visibility for those silenced by history. With a transdisciplinary approach, we will examine how these contemporary artistic practices seek to boost processes of reparation and remembrance, which in turn allow dissonant narratives and alternate constructions of history and memory. We seek to shed light on how aesthetic and artistic practices can help not only re-think violent historical conflicts but also re-appropriate, re-construct and articulate an inclusive (art) history of Latin America’s 20th and 21st centuries, by showing the power relations, inequalities and silences that still shape our world today.
Elena Rosauro is a researcher and curator. Her work in both fields tries to offer some partial and situated comments on violence, injustice and destruction. Her fields of research include Latin American studies, visual culture studies, violence and memory studies, and the anthropology of art.
University of Murcia, Spain
Archival intervention to remediate the biased representation of black britishness
The case of passion of remembrance (1986) by Sankofa film and video collective
This paper investigates o the use of archival materials in the film The Passion of Remembrance by Sankofa. It shows how the visual archive is a site of both remediation and intervention in the construction of identities and collective memory. This film establishes a compelling dialogue in past and present registers encompassing the complex interplay between the process of forgetting and remembering inherent in the (de)construction of black Britishness. By incorporating visual material disseminated by British media, which is based on stereotypes, the film effectively constructs a counter-narrative to challenge misrepresentation. This paper will firstly contextualise the broader historical and socio-cultural framework in which Sankofa emerged. This contextualisation is crucial for comprehending the collective’s deliberate utilization of the archive as a fundamental source of raw material of remediation. Subsequently, the significance of The Passion of Remembrance will be underscored, elucidating both its use of archival materials and the underlying purposes they serve in the film’s narrative. This will be achieved through the analysis of a specific scene. Ultimately, this paper will demonstrate how the collective’s intervention in the archive facilitates the creation of a new representation of black Britishness no longer pigeonholed to the margins.
María Piqueras-Pérez is a PhD candidate at the University of Murcia. She is the recipient of a Séneca Foundation doctoral grant. She holds a BA in English and a M.A. on ESL both from the university of Murcia. She is working on the production of the black British workshops Sankofa, Black Audio Film Collective and Ceddo. She has been a visiting researcher at the University of Westminster and King’s College London, and she is currently a visiting researcher at the University of Liverpool. Her areas of interest are memory studies, film Studies, cultural studies, and postcolonial Studies.
1:30pm - 2pm — BREAK
Contesting Narratives: Archives and atlases as productive spaces
Chair: Estefani Bouza
Swansea College of Art, University of Wales
Amalia Caputo Dodge
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
The archive in visual atlas constructions
This study examines three photo-based art installations in which I explore the role of memory construction in photography, with a specific emphasis on the concept of accumulation in the digital era, and the archival context. These visual large-scale installations aim to restore the materiality of photography as object, and explore the immersive and experiential qualities of environments filled with images, in opposition to the ephemerality of the digital experience through screens. The paper delves into the evolving relationship between photography, the archive, and its transformative nature, as it transitions from a digital transient realm, and returns to a physical manifestation (Art Installation, Atlas). I aim to investigate the challenges posed by the exponential proliferation of daily encountered images, and explore the cognitive processes involved in comprehending and interpreting them, within a progressively abundant and seemingly chaotic digital archive. I focus on building thematic axes or "Atlases" that serve as spaces of interpretation, drawing inspiration from Georges Didi-Huberman’s take on Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas. It is crucial to contextualize the symbolic universe of images, and the construction of visual atlases as archives, or as permeable and tangible membranes that evidence our contemporary visual experience.
Amalia Caputo is a Venezuelan American visual artist and independent art researcher. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas (1988) and completed a MFA in Art and Photography at the New York University and the International Center of Photography dual program, New York (1995). Currently, she is a first-year PhD student at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. In addition to her artistic practice, Caputo has had a significant involvement in museums and institutions throughout her professional career. She has worked as an independent curator, researcher, editor, and art writer since 1989.
Daniela Cifuentes Acevedo
A gender studies approach on the mnemosyne atlas as a living archive
From a gender studies perspective, this paper focuses on understanding Aby Warburg's proposal of a Mnemosyne Atlas as a living archive, with the aim of elucidating the potential and limits of this methodology of collecting and organizing images as a tool for rethinking a patriarchal past. Following this guideline is taken as a case of study the photographs published in the book La Violencia en Colombia - estudio de un proceso social, sexual, and gender violence registers occurred in the context of the war in Colombia. These images show how women and their bodies, in the context of a patriarchy exacerbated by the war, become repositories of violence by being codified as territory and origin of life. These photographs are the axis of a Mnemosyne Atlas, considered an archive, that compiles works of art from other contexts and temporalities that dialogue with the woman-land-life relationship.
These collected documents will serve to define the limits and possibilities of the archive, as a form of montage that allows us to reformulate the narratives of the past and make historical gender biases visible. However, a final section focuses on highlighting the caveats that gender studies can pose to Aby Warburg's methodology.
Daniela Cifuentes Acevedo is an Art historian, graduated from the Universidad de los Andes with meritorious thesis for the work Constelaciones de representación de "Violencia" by Obregón as a feminized and territorialized body. She participated with the same work in the XI International Congress El Cuerpo en el Siglo XXI - Aproximaciones Heterodoxas desde América Latina organized by the Universidad San Francisco Xavier, Bolivia. Worked in the Colombian Artists Archives Bank (BADAC) finalizing the database of the personal archive of the artist Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar. Currently working with the archive of ArtNexus/Arte magazine in Colombia and in the consolidation of the personal archive of artist Edelmira Boller.
Manuel Padín Fernández
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
The archive in the digital age and its major challenges
EXIT, a case study
The digital turn of the archive accentuates some of the ontological conflicts that have traditionally manifested this technology of cataloguing and ordering discourse: the rigidity of its nature versus the necessary fluidity of its consultation, the drive to preserve everything versus the impossibility of this totalising task or the apparent neutrality of its structure versus the manifest human bias. A contemporary study of the digital paradigm of the archive must explore its potential (greater democratisation, better usability and distribution...), but also account for its limitations and conflicts. Based on my personal experience of creating the virtual archive of EXIT (a professional contemporary art medium specialising in photography with a long history), which will soon be available and which includes all the texts generated in the history of the medium in the different digital and paper magazines, this conference will analyse the dilemmas faced by the proliferation of digital archives and the horizons of technological imagination with the rise of tools such as artificial intelligence and the demands of fluid navigation. The focus will be on dismantling the ideology of immateriality in order to explore the operational, ontological and epistemological challenges in the creation and management of such archives.
Manuel Padín Fernández (Madrid, 1998) is a researcher with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) and the Universidad Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and a Master's degree in Contemporary Art History and Visual Culture from the UAM, the UCM and the Museo Reina Sofía. He won the LUR Essay Prize on Photography 2021 for his work "Bucear la herida: paisajes (im)posibles de la imagen en la era postfotográfica" (published by Editorial Muga), as well as the first Premio AMCA a la Crítica de Arte Joven 2022.
Digital Utopia-Dystopia in Untimely Archives: Diasporic memories and colonial ghosts
Chair: Marianna Tsionki
Leeds Arts University, United Kingdom
Bárbara Bergamaschi Novaes
PPGCOM-UFRJ / CIEBA, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
Revelations and Cover-ups of the Digital Arkhé
The Archive Fever in amateur homemovie. A study case in the forensic desktop film “Filme Particular”
Derrida states that the archive is both the "home" of memory and the "shelter" of history. This would constitute the essential paradox of the archive at the same time it reveals it also covers up. The existence of the archive depends on those who administer it - the so-called "archontes". Archives are, therefore, simultaneously public and secret, and can be revolutionary and/or conservative, depending on who manipulates them. Walter Benjamin has stated: “There is no document of civilization that is not at the same time a document of barbarism.” An archive, like a monument, thus comprises a myriad of invisible stories of the "conquered" that are yet to be told. In this communication we will analyze "Filme Particular" (Brazil, 2022, 90’), a feature film by Janaína Nagata. What seems to be amateur family footage traveling in Africa ends up to reveal the "buried" history of South African Apartheid. Done purely through editing and social media tools, we follow a "live" forensic desktop investigation through a diptych screen. Nagata discovers subterranean layers of meaning that emerge from this private archive, exploring in an "untimely" methodology the erasures, gaps and lacunae of the digital “archive fever", giving light to invisible narratives.
Bárbara Bergamaschi Novaes holds a PhD in Literature, Culture and Contemporaneity From PUC-Rio with a doctoral exchange period at UCP in Porto, Portugal. Her thesis was focused on the filmography of experimental filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky. In 2019-2020 she was a professor at the Performing Arts department at the Federal University of São João Del Rei (DEACE-UFSJ). She is a film critic associated with ABRACCINE, accredited by Fipresci. Currently she is a collaborating researcher at CIEBA at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon.
Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso do Sul - UFMS, Brazil
John Akomfrah and the Digital Specters of Diaspora
In the essay “Digitopia and the specters of diaspora”, John Akomfrah offers an unusual take on the cinematic after the rise of digital technologies. For Akomfrah, instead of facing the digital turn as a parade of technological novelties, one could find germs of the digital in the history of Black Cinema from the analogue era. The malleability of the digital image, as well as its promise of democratization, Akomfrah argues, were previously lived either as dreams or as collective endeavors by Black filmmakers of the 1970/1980s. He presents multiple examples of these latent forms of the digital.
The debate raised by Sembène on whether film stocks would overcome its photochemical racial bias and properly inscribe the Black Skin, the efforts of collectivization among filmmakers in newly independent African nations, or the project of Arthur Jafa and Julie Dash to represent Black figures in Technicolor are, for Akomfrah, such moments where the digital announced itself as a promise. Moments, when, “inside the belly of the photochemical beast, black cinema’s rhetoric’s of disaffection will morph into a counter-hegemonic trace, a call for a ‘new thing’, a ‘third space’ that the ‘digital revolution’ will one day come to embody but not completely fulfill”.
This paper wants to revisit Akomfrah’s untimely reading of the cinematic archive in the light of the digital. I argue Akomfrah unfolds a vision of historiography attuned to that of Walter Benjamin, where the past is charged with virtualities and both facts and non-facts key to the writing of history
Rodrigo Sombra is Professor of the Audiovisual Department of Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS), Brazil. He holds a PhD in Communication and Culture from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, with a doctoral exchange period at the New York University. Sombra holds a Master's Degree in Film Studies from San Francisco State University. He co-edited the book “O Cinema de John Akomfrah: Espectros da Diáspora”.
Independent Researcher, Brazil
Archives and Distopias in Ceilândia
The poetic montage of “Mato Seca em Chamas”
Since his first film, Brazilian filmmaker Adirley Queirós is known for filming the neighborhood where he grew up, in Ceilândia, a city close to Brasilia, capital of Brazil. In his movies, Ceilândia appears involved in an atmosphere that combines the director's main references, which include science fiction, rap and the conflicts of History. In “Mato Seco em Chamas”, his last film, co-directed with Joana Pimenta, wasn't different. Screened at festivals such as International Film Festival Berlin and Cinéma du Réel, the film tells the story of a group of ex-prisoner women – Chitara, Léa and Andréia – who control an illegal gasoline refining network in the city. They are known as the legendary “gasolineiras da kebrada” from Sol Nascente, currently the largest favela in Brazil.
The fiction, based on a dystopian futurism, is filled with images and sounds of oil extraction machines, which shocks with archival images of Léa's prison, referring to the period the actress spent in prison. This paper aims to analyze the montage of “Mato Seco em Chamas”, specifically in the way in which the story of the character and the actress are mixed, which is clear with the reuse of her police archive in the film.
Eduarda Kuhnert is a journalist, editor and independent researcher. Graduated from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), with a period at the Berlin University of Arts (UdK). She holds a master 's degree in Arts from the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), with research on Susana de Sousa Dias's filmography. She was also a researcher and co-author of the book “Explosão Feminista” (2018), organized by Heloísa Buarque de Hollanda. In 2015, she founded Revista Beira, an independent journal publication focused on arts, cinema and politics (https://medium.com/revista-beira).
Meta-Visions and Digital Dynamics: Unveiling the digital paradigm within historical archives
Chair: Chiara Juriatti
Katholische Privat-Universität Linz, Austria
Danube University, Austria
Generative Photography and the Common Human Ancestor
Based oon photomontage technique, first implemented by Sir Francis Galton, the founder of eugenics and a cousin of Charles Darwin, and generative programs initiated by Richard Dawkins, artificial neural networks today apply genotypic and phenotypic parameters on photographic portraits. Galton, in 19th century, using photographic archives created meta-portraits of generic types and calculated person's visual resemblance over time and potential resemblance to a historical person, or a family, tribe, race. With the use of contemporary artificial life programs, as Biomorph Land by Richard Dawkins (1986), neural networks are computing from much larger sets (Peraica 2022a, 2022b. 2022c). Yet, while developing in terms of quantity of images processed and processing speed, these programs continue to reverberate an old bias of averageness introduced to sociology by a Belgian Adolphe Quêtelet and imported into photography by Galton, when he defined “imaginary figure possessing the average features of any given group of men” (Galton 1879: 133).
Although based on much larger sets (Peraica 2021), such stereotypes are visible in products of digital neural networks too. This prestation focuses on possible “common ancestor” from all archival images; a possibility that all portrait photographs ever recorded do represent our average type.
Dr. Ana Peraica authored The Age of Total Images (Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2019), Fotografija kao dokaz (Multimedijalni institut, Zagreb), Culture of the Selfie (Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2017). The most recently she published in edited readers by Routledge, Palgrave MacMillan, Intellect books, and wrote several encyclopaedias entries for SAGE editions, while she has pending essays for readers to be published with Bloomsbury, Routledge and Springer. Ana Peraica is a Visiting Professor at Danube University in Krems, and was recently a visiting faculty at History Department of Central European University (CEU) in Budapest.
Università di Genova, Italy
Archiving practices as a form of resistance
The digital archives of the Arab Uprisings
The role of user-generated images was central during the Arab uprisings. Images were produced and circulated for different purposes: evidentiary, memorial, affective. Today, images and videos produced by protesters during the uprisings are accessible via digital platforms such as YouTube and Facebook or through digital archives specifically created by the communities.
This paper discusses the connections between archiving practices, violent images and activism by focusing on the digital archives of the Arab uprisings. The paper will analyse as case studies 858 An Archive of Resistance, created by a collective of Egyptian activists, the Syrian Archive and the Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution, emerged in the context of the Syrian revolution. The aim of the paper is to highlight how these archiving practices were - and still are - interpreted as political acts, as acts of resistance against regimes, enabling a renegotiation of the very role of the archive. Through this analysis, the paper will attempt to answer some questions: what is the role of archives in contemporary societies, and in particular in geopolitical contexts with contested histories? How can the archive be reimagined and reinterpreted through contemporary archiving practices? How does the digital contribute as an active agent to archiving processes?
Alessandra Fredianelli is a PhD student in History of Contemporary Art at the University of Genova. She graduated in Visual Cultures and Curatorial Practices at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan and completed a one-year postgraduate programme in Gender Studies at the University of Roma Tre. She was part of the research project Coloniality and Visual Cultures in Italy. Her research interests focus on archives, visual cultures, social movements and protests, Italian colonialism and coloniality, gender studies. She collaborates with cultural organisations, among which Lo schermo dell’arte, Locarno Film Festival and Black History Month Florence.
University of Edinburgh and Imperial War Museum, London
Safeguarding the Critical Moment
Maintaining relational values between images when digitising the London bomb damage photograph archive 1940-1945
This paper presents a case study focusing on the digital translation and cataloguing of an archive of mostly unpublished Second World War press photographs of bomb-damaged London. With the recent loss of physical access to this archive, I discuss my approach to its material translation into the digital realm and how this bears upon reading the images. By taking a particular methodological position which recognises their multivalency, releases their gathering capacity and allows for relational values within the archive to be discovered, images are brought into active readings as montages are built during the presentation. In this way, I demonstrate the importance of reading images in their own context, which allows for the previously unremarked critical moment within an image and synergies between images to emerge. As the archive contains a spectrum of civilian experiences from salvaging and scenes staged for the camera, to images of the dead, the injured and traumatised, I explore a relational approach to cataloguing, wherein each image’s integrity is preserved by retaining nuance which reduces possibilities for fetishisation or creating the next ur-image.
Jane McArthur has recently submitted her PhD thesis Forgotten Images Still Resisting Time: Writing the London Bomb Damage Photograph Archive 1940–1945. This was a collaborative PhD with the University of Edinburgh and the Imperial War Museum, London involving researching an uncatalogued archive of mostly unpublished, censored press photographs of bomb-damaged London. Jane’s work takes a particular image-led approach to reading and writing with images which challenges notions of images as representative, complete or iconic to instead correlate their temporal, fragmentary nature with the disintegrating experiences of war. Prior to her PhD, Jane worked as a contemporary art curator.
EMERIC LHUISSET Visual artist, France
Showing the war, a contemporary approach
While to show armed conflicts, photography of the event prevails in the media (shooting, explosion, corpse, etc.), everyone has a smartphone allowing them at any time to capture and instantly broadcast what they are facing, is it still relevant for the war photographer to seek to capture the event?
However, the image professional must exist more than ever, to verify authenticity, to identify, to research, to investigate. But also in an approach that could be described as post-documentary, with a more conceptual reflection. Emeric Lhuisset through his visual work, invites us to question the representations of war or as Clausewitz called it; the theater of war.
Emeric Lhuisset is a french visual artist.
His work is presented in numerous exhibitions around the world. He won the British Journal of Photography International Photography Award 2020, the BMW Residency for photography 2018, and Grand Prix Images Vevey - Leica Prize 2017. His work is present in private collections as well as those of the Stedelijk Museum, the Nicéphore Niepce Museum, the Musée de l’Armée – Invalides and the CNAP. In parallel with his artistic practice, he teaches at the Institute of Political Studies of Paris (Sciences Po) on the theme ofcontemporary art & geopolitics. He is represented by Kalfayan Galleries.
Chair: Ana Catarina Pinho
IHA, Nova University of Lisbon
6 pm CLOSING SESSION
SATURDAY, 23 SEPTEMBER ONLINE | 10:00am - 5:00pm (WEST)
Ana Catarina Pinho
DR. SARA CALLAHAN University of Stockholm, Sweden
THE PERMEABLE IMAGE
Empathy, archival theory and contemporary artistic practice
The so-called archival turn in contemporary art involved both form and content. It established an archival aesthetics, but also references to thinking and writing about archives that can be grouped under the heterogeneous category of archival theory. Now, after several decades of the archive at the foreground of the international artworld, have these forms and ideas run out of steam, or have they been been naturalized to such an extent that the archival is no longer an identifiable and separate “trend” or “interest”. Has the interest in archives among artists and art writers undergone significant changes in the decades since the turn of the twenty-first century, and if so, how? In my paper, I address these questions by considering recent artworks that deal with specific instances of conflict, marginalization, and forms of oppression. They do so by actively seeking to reframe the confrontational, combative and undermining strategies that has characterized some archival discourse. I argue that these artistic practices combine established tenets of archival theory with more empathetic, compassionate and caring practices, stressing notions of permeability and forms of critique that incorporate elements of empathy and care.
Sara Callahan is an art historian specializing in modern and Contemporary art and visual culture. Her book Art + Archive: Understanding the Archival Turn in Contemporary Art was published in January 2022 by Manchester University Press. She is currently working on a project, financed by the Swedish Research Council, that investigates how photographic motion studies from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century have been used in different contexts over time, and to what effect.
Chair: Annalisa Laganà
Università della Calabria, Italy
Murder, Massacre, and Surveillance Images: the archive as a tool for activating memory and agency of bodies in the public space
Chair: Marta Labad
University of Technology, Arts and Design, Spain
Filipe Figueiredo, European University, Portugal
Laura Peralta, European University, Portugal
Beyond the Index
Visual tools for memory activation
The paper aims to reflect on the role of images, and particularly photography, in the context of conflict, against oblivion, and how different narratives are built depending on their uses. In this context, it is intended to question the idea of Archive and discuss the meaning of non-conventional images of war to report conflicts and create visual tools to activate the memory of the violence, specifically the massacre of El Salado (Colombia, 2000). This event was perpetrated in collaboration with Colombian state institutions and therefore the memory of the event lay on the version of the perpetrators, who had the greatest visibility in the media, promoting a narrative distracting from the truth, through press releases and forged interviews. There are no visual remains of the event or the victims. Its visual memory is based on anachronic images that every year remember the event through photographs of the actual place. Hence, the collective memory is built upon its absence, as non-places (Augé) and these images turn into meaningful testimonies (Didi-Hubermann). This way we have collected the images that come out these years evoking the massacre and used them in the construction of a 3D model of the town where each picture of the house was taken from the media photographs with the aim of representing a victim. We propose to reconfigure the archive images to activate the memory of the massacre and honour the victims through a recreation of the space, encouraging people to participate and create consciousness and responsibility (Azoulay).
Filipe Figueiredo is an Assistant Professor at IADE/European University and Coordinator of the bachelor’s in Photography and Visual Culture. With a PhD in Artistic Studies, he is a researcher at UNIDCOM-EU and Centro Estudos Teatro/FLUL (he coordinates the “Theatre/Image” research line), he leads the project PERPHOTO-Performing the gaze and has published and curated in the areas of Photography, Performing Arts and Visual Culture, such as “Amélia” (2018), “José Marques: photographer on stage” (2019), “Pedro Soares at Teatro da Graça” and “Text Hack” by Susana Chicó (2022). He is a photographer, working mainly in the context of performing arts.
Laura Peralta graduated in Fine Arts from Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano in Bogotá. She is currently enrolled in a Master's in Design and Visual Culture at IADE - Universidade Europeia in Lisbon. For the past 12 years, she has worked as a live illustrator, where she had the opportunity to work in the development of the conversations around Colombia's peace process that took place from 2011 until 2018. She is now interested in exploring new visual possibilities to help construct memory and peace in Colombia.
Jone Rubio Mazkiaran
Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, Spain
Gladys has been killed
Analysis of the visual archive of a murder
An archive is a tool composed of fragments of the past, which in turn is a good material that crystallizes the active presence of past acts. A question that I would like to identify with is the symbolic nature of politics as proposed by Luisa Muraro. In contrast to the tools linked to power, Muraro stresses that the political is intervened by a series of signs whose aim is to mediate between pure thought and the intervention of this thought in life. These signs are materialized through the symbolic dimension of words that circulate through various material signs.
On June 8, 1979, the Basque magazine Punto y Hora published on its cover a headline reading 'Gladys hil dute' -Gladys has been killed-. Gladys del Estal was a Basque activist assassinated by state forces during an anti-nuclear mobilization. In this interaction, between the archive, Gladys’s body, and the policeman who killed her, we perceive the dialectical break that is generated between the body that thinks, acts, and intervenes in life and the one that is transformed into a biopolitical architecture that shuts down the dialogue of the other.
Jone Rubio Mazkiaran is a predoctoral researcher EHU/UPV (PIF/21), an art critic in the newspaper Berria and a curator. In this line, she studied History of Art at the EHU/UPV and the University of Barcelona. Then, she completed a Master in Advanced Studies in Art History at the University of Barcelona. Besides, Rubio is member of the R+D group "Desnortadas. Territorios de género en la creación artística contemporánea" (PID2020-115157GB-I00) and the research project ‘Gorputza, Egiletasuna eta generoa euskal kultur sorkuntzan’ (US2117) protected by UPV/EHU. Her research focuses on creating visual synergies between feminist actions and the presence of women in public spaces in the Basque Country.
Mayra Villavicencio Principe
ESCAC, University of Barcelona, Spain
Turning the Gaze
The right to opacity of surveillance images in protest contexts
This research project examines the use of surveillance images as tools for control and surveillance in the context of protests in 21st century Peru. Drawing on Hito Steyerl's reflection, which highlights the vertical and panoptic perspective as generating a floating observer and a sense of stable ground in the imaginary, this research explores how new technologies have taken this detached gaze to a global and omniscient level, disembodiment the images and their contents. The focus of this research is on the artistic practice I engage in to generate modes of visual opacity in these images, highlighting the agency of materiality (Bennett), such as colors, definitions, pixels, among others, through the use of digital devices. These "poor images" (Steyerl) build anonymous global networks and generate a shared history, reclaiming their relevance and meaning through distribution and reinterpretation. My argument is based on the concept of opacity (Glissant), understanding that a surveillance image contains its own modes of opacity, rejecting the imposition of absolute transparency that seeks to diminish them. This opacity implies escaping the body, freeing oneself from predefined identities and limitations imposed by power structures, seeking to build multiplicities and agencies (Deleuze and Guattari) that allow new forms of subjectivity and relationship with the world.
Mayra Villavicencio is a filmmaker and researcher pursuing a Master's degree in Film Studies and Visual Cultures at ESCAC in Spain. Her research focuses on memory, political violence, and gender, specifically examining films depicting women involved in armed organizations in 1980s and 1990s Peru. She presented her work at the "Latin American Women's Filmmaking" Conference in London and in the International Colloquium on "State Violence in Peru" at UNSCH in Ayacucho. Mayra also directed the film "After the Dust" as part of the collective "Silencio," which received acclaim at international festivals, including Mar del Plata, Documenta Madrid, JEONJU and Punto de Vista, where it won the Grand Prize for Best Film.
Reframing Memory, Identity, and Life through Contemporary Archival Art
Chair: Annalisa Laganà
Università della Calabria, Italy
Universidad Complutense, Spain
Transmuting trauma through artistic reinterpretation
Drawing from my personal experience as a third-generation artist affected by a traumatic event, this research investigates artistic practices that repurpose archival materials to address complex themes of historical narratives, memory, and representation. Archival materials, acting as a prosthesis, aid in understanding the intangible aspects of the past. By appropriating and recontextualizing these images, artists undergo a transformative process, offering fresh perspectives, facilitating personal healing, and enabling reinterpretation. This study explores motivations, strategies, and ethical considerations driving artistic appropriation, emphasizing its impact on healing, understanding, identity formation, and disrupting established narratives. Supported by case studies, it demonstrates how artistic practices of remediation shape collective comprehension of history, cultural heritage, social justice, and historical representation. Interweaving personal experience with broader discussions on the appropriation of archival images, this abstract emphasizes their significance as vehicles for creative expression and powerful tools to process inherited trauma. Artists navigate the complexities of memory, truth, and representation, constructing a symbolic connection to the past, gaining insights, fostering personal growth, and contributing to a nuanced understanding of history.
Montevideo 1990, Elián holds a Master's degree from KASK School of Arts in Ghent, and has became the youngest artist to hold a solo exhibition at the National Museum of Visual Arts in Montevideo. Elián's talent has garnered international recognition through various accolades, residencies, and scholarships, including the prestigious 1st Paul Cezanne Prize from the French Embassy in Uruguay and Matadero-Instituto Cervantes fellowship in Madrid and Warsaw. Influenced by her family's history as third-generation survivors, she explores the fusion of traditional techniques and digital technology in her doctoral research thesis while continuing to create meaningful art.
Elisabeth R. Friedman
Illinois State University, United States
Dor Guez’s Scanograms
Archiving the virtual
Dor Guez’s grandparents’ marriage in 1949 was the first Palestinian wedding to take place among the residents of Lydda after the Nakba. As a result, their wedding photographs provide rare archival evidence of life in the so-called “Lod Ghetto”: where Palestinians who remained were forced to live until 1952. According to Derrida, our traditional conception of the archive is structured according to the classical opposition between memory and forgetting. But as Guez’s mediation of these images demonstrates, efforts to forget also leave traces. Unlike other artists who work with family photographic archives, Guez does not display original prints. Instead, he transforms these photographs into “scanograms.” Guez uses this unusual term to call attention to his mediation of the images, marking a distance from traditional notions of photographic truth. To make a scanogram, Guez manipulates three different types of digital scanners to capture different levels of an original photograph: surface (image), tears (missing parts) and blemishes. The resulting image combines these three layers of digital interpretation to provide a sense of life and depth. My proposed presentation explores these three layers of interpretation as Guez deploys the digital to create a new artistic archive from the remnants of the past.
Elisabeth R. Friedman is Associate Professor of Art History & Theory at Illinois State University, with interests in Palestinian art and theories of the archive. Her article “Spiegelman’s Magic Box: MetaMaus and the Archive of Representation” will be published the anthology Multimodality: The Evolution of Comics Studies (2023). Other publications include: “‘We Always Talk About War’: Photography as Archive in the work of Dor Guez” in Jerusalem Quarterly 67 and “RE/viewing Jerusalem: The Art of Counter Occupation” by Al Hoash Gallery in East Jerusalem; her work has also been published in In/Visible Culture, Studies in Comics, and English Language Notes.
London South Bank University, United Kingdom
Follow Y/our River
A protocol for deep mapping liminal space
"Follow Y/our River.” is based on a self-initiated artist residency conducted by hḗrā, tamara, and I (paula) along the river Lea Valley, where we explored the entanglement of human and non-human bodies of water. The residency resulted in two publications, "Follow Y/our River Lea-minal Edges: Prompts for Transitory States of Being" and "Follow Y/our River: A Manual for Deep Mapping in the Lower Lea Valley." Our objective was to develop a protocol for deep mapping that captured the diverse aspects of Lea's liminal space. By combining photography, walking, collecting materials and field notes, the project aimed to capture the archaeological, ecological, sculptural, and archival sites in the Lea Valley. The protocol was designed to engage readers and visitors in the exploration of transitory states of being and the entanglement of human and non-human entities along the river. The project was presented through a book launch and exhibition at the Borough Road Gallery in May 2023. The exhibition included an editorial lab that invited readers to "follow y/our river" and create their own constellation of printed matter.
Paula Roush lives and works in London. She is a photographer and the founder of msdm (mobile strategies of display and mediation), a house-studio-gallery dedicated to the expanded practice of the artist's book. In her work, she interweaves her own photography with found objects, in a reflection on the integration of artistic and curatorial practices in installation and publishing.
1:30pm - 2pm — BREAK
Materiality and memory in the digital age
Chair: Santasil Mallik
Western University, Canada
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Materiality and Memory in the Digital Age
Archive reappropriation in Takeshi Murata’s work
American media artist Takeshi Murata's work is exclusively digital, going from 3D animation to kaleidoscopic abstraction. Two videos will retain our attention here in this research: Monster Movie (2005) and Shiboogie (2012). Both pieces are a combination of archival reappropriation and digital manipulation, where the artist exploits technological error to create new images. Murata particularly explores datamoshing technique. Subset of glitch art, datamoshing is a contemporary aesthetic defined as the manipulation of digital images compression codecs. Murata's work disturbs the linear progression of digital moving images, which results in a characteristic effervescence of smears of colour. Losing the distinction between consecutives shots, the video turns into a steady flow of visual variations operating on any images persisting in memory. If in Monster Movie (2005), Murata brings back to life fragments of a forgotten film (Caveman, Dir: Carl Gottlieb, 1981), in Shiboogie (2012), anonymous japanese ads are resuscitated. Independent of the apparatus created by Murata and of the original content of the archives, the media disruption generated on the level of materiality unveils the layered, nonlinear and fragmented dimension of memory. Similar to data compression, memory proves to be subject to reconfiguration and loss, but also shows itself susceptible to corruption.
Alexandre Gouin is researcher for the Brazilian Film and Video Preservation Project (http://www.bfvpp.com/) and assistant-editor at Eco-Pós, academic journal of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro Communication School (revistaecopos.eco.ufrj.br). He is PhD candidate in Communication and Culture at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro with a research on archive reappropriation in experimental cinema.
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / Université Paris 1 - Panthéon-Sorbonne
Zombies, Glitch and the Pandemic
Digitally melting the world through a fictional archive
During COVID-19 pandemic, Guli Silberstein, digital artist and experimental filmmaker from London, reuses images from the classic "Night of the Living Dead" (1968), by George Romero, to make a trilogy of experimental short films entitled "The devil had other plans" (2020). Attentive to datamoshing's disruptive aesthetics, this research starts with but goes beyond the evident association between zombies and pandemic contagion. It concentrates on the formal implications of combining datamoshing, archival footage and zombie fiction, suggesting the result as a synthesis for the anxiety of the real pandemic horror and its intense online environment. Silberstein's techno-manipulation of the archive attacks it until its frank dissolution. We witness repeated processes of melting the human body and the spaces it inhabits, constantly destroyed and recreated, invaded by other images through datamoshing. Those visions seem to eat each other, displaying this digital zombie metabolism as artwork.
Nicholas Andueza is a Collaborating Researcher at the Cinematheque of the Museum of Modern Arts of Rio de Janeiro (MAM/RJ) and assistant-editor of Eco-Pós Journal (revistaecopos.eco.ufrj.br). He has a PhD in Communication at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and a PhD in History at the University Paris 1 - Panthéon Sorbonne, with CAPES and CNPq scholarship, researching archival cinema, biopolitics and representations of the body. He is also an art critic for DASArtes review (https://dasartes.com.br/), specialised in visual arts. In audiovisual practice, he works as researcher, editor and cameraman.
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Hacking the Technology and the Archives
Jacques Perconte’s intersection of datamoshing and neo-impressionist aesthetics
The relations between visual arts and archives are manifold. In recent decades, various practices have emerged that explore images, sounds by appropriating different types of materials. The emergence of digital technology has significantly amplified this form of archival creation.
An excellent example of it is the work of Jacques Perconte, the focus of this research. His artistic style delves into the intersections of archive and new media aesthetics. This contemporary French artist is particularly known for his use of compression artifacts, glitches, and data manipulation techniques to create immersive experiences. By intentionally introducing errors and disruptions into his artworks, Perconte challenges the notion of digital perfection and encourages viewers to appreciate the inherent beauty of the materiality of digital media.
The style he has been developing since the 1990s draws on appropriation and re-appropriation of archives as raw material. One of these sources is the film history, as in scenes from movies such as “La Chinoise”, “Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes” and others. The objective of this investigation is to examine the connection between archives and technology, with a specific focus on the work of Jacques Perconte. The study will center around computational aesthetics, such as Glitch Art and datamoshing.
Lucas Murari is a Professor and Researcher in Arts and Film Studies, holding a PhD in Communication and Culture from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, with a stage at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University - Paris 3. Currently, he serves as a fellow researcher at the School of Communication (PPGCOM/UFRJ) and holds the position of Editor-in-Chief at Eco-Pós Journal (revistaecopos.eco.ufrj.br). In 2022, he co-organized the book “Expanded Nature – Écologies du cinéma experimental” (Ed. LightCone) with Elio Della Noce.
Archiving Chaos, Zoning and Invisibilising, Datifying Behaviours: Other visualities in the control society
Chair: Pablo Santa Ollala
IHA, Nova University of Lisbon
Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
Exploring Traumatic Images, Test Records, and the Archive
Deciphering spatial relationships, new realities, and the chaotic image
This study explores the history and significance of accident crash tests, which not only offer aesthetic experiences but also embody the modeling of physical contact. It takes a deciphering perspective to analyze traumatic images, providing an experiential understanding of their relationship to test records and archives. By focusing on the relationships that emerge when confronting traumatic images, the research seeks to expand this experiential connection. The study also contemplates archiving as an integral structure within life. Phenomenology is employed as a tool to revitalize and better understand the many relationships within the archive, surpassing abstract harmonies in terms of history and aesthetics.
Hirschhorn describes this experience of trauma image as "new realities." Examining the relationship between crash and representation, the study highlights re-examination of the connection formed with traumatic images on a spatial level. Ultimately, the chaotic image introduces us to a new archive reality, serving as a metaphor for the experience of conflict within the archive, whether interpreted in the realm of constructed environment digitally or physically.
Sebnem Cakalogullari is doing PhD in Architectural Design. She is also giving lecture in Faculty of Architecture. She spends most of her time visualization of event, memory and using the recording (representation) as a tool for awaking conscience about body and time relation. And experimenting the aesthetic of space via archiving things over and over.
University of La Laguna, Spain
Neighborhoods through Youtube videos
Images can be used as an hegemonic tool to perpetuate operational views of certain places. In the Canarian context, since a colonial narrative linked to the exotic was configured from the very beginning of the occupation of the islands, many ways of life present in the archipelago have been blurred between images of paradisiacal beaches and scenery prepared for the pleasure of the visitor. By not being attached to a marketable tourist idea, the Canarian neighborhoods are configured as the paradoxical invisible place in which locals live. Understanding and analyzing the way in which these places have been immortalized (or not) can shed some light on the object of the images made on the islands during the last decades. As well as the role of mass media in establishing new decentralized documentation pathways. In this lecture, the case of Las Moraditas de Taco neighborhood will be explored, observing how the very logic of platforms such as YouTube or Facebook and video traffic in the digital age condition how records of marginal places are established.
Joel Peláez graduated in design, specializing in visual arts, from the Univesity of La Laguna. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Theory and Art History from ULL. As a research associate, he worked in the project “Information design for the communication of complexity in socio-educational environments” at the Department of Fine Arts at ULL. He currently combines his research work with archival duties at ‘Isla de Tenerife’ Photography Center and coordinating activities at Photobook Club Canarias.
AJK Mass Communication Research Center, JMI New Delhi, India
Datafication, Surveillance and New Media technology in urban classrooms
A study based in New Delhi, India
The proposed research paper explores new media technology in urban classrooms and advancement in surveillance systems in academic infrastructures. The study examines various surveillance devices on campus like biometric and face recognition sensors and id-card tapping for monitoring attendance and regularity and discusses the nature, context, and application of such devices on campus. The researcher questions the codified digital existence of teachers and students in academia and the archiving of data by these devices and the audio-visual material recorded in CCTV cameras for automated data management processes. The research study details the infrastructural spaces in urban academic landscape and documents the photographs published in their glossy brochures and how these form an integral part of the visual archives of urban infrastructural landscape. Exploring the technological integration with academic culture, the paper documents the use of Educational ERP software for recording attendance, scores, monitoring and tracking of the database. The paper also questions the privacy, transparency, and integrity of communication using such surveillance capitalist devices. Stemming from the theoretical interventions of Donna Haraway (1991) and David Lyon (2018), the research tries to understand the link in the rapid privatization of education, datafication and frenzy technical acceleration and surveillance in academia.
Shruti Nagpal is New Delhi based photographer, filmmaker, and researcher. Her Practice based PhD entails photographs, short films, stories and an interactive website on theme intersecting media, technology, arts education. Recipient of several scholarships and grants, she has conducted interactive workshops on documentary and story-telling techniques at schools and colleges in Delhi; and has presented research work in national and international platforms including CSDS, New Delhi; Queensland, Australia; Turkey; Bristol, United Kingdom. A double Gold Medalist at Graduate and Post Graduate level in Mass Communication from two reputed universities of India, she is involved in academia and research since 2007.
PEDRO LAGOA Visual artist, Portugal
Conflict = energy = life = friction = energy = life.
No conflict, no energy, no life.
the archive of destruction
Conflict is inherent to destruction, as memory is inherent to the archive.
The archive of destruction is a nomadic archive that takes the conceptual structure of contemporary art as a model and is dedicated to collecting documents on actions and ideas embodying specific kinds of destruction.
By assuming conflict as a necessary condition for critical thought, the archive fosters a diverse range of documents referencing different types of conflict: between people and their time, between people and other people, between events and their representations, between different ideas and concepts.
Delving into the archive of destruction will offer some insights into the different types of conflict an image can bear along with questions on legibility, consumption, and how circulation affects banalization, saturation and images’ lifespan.
Sameness produces no accidents and poses no challenges, and it is perhaps when an image ceases to bear or generate conflict that its lifetime is due, and ultimately, the main conflict for an image might be to prove itself able ‘to not disappear with every present moment that fails to find recognition in it’. Particularly in a time where everything is seemingly preserved, even if only destined to digital immortality, invisible and unrecognisable under torrents of images, detached from any temporality or spatiality.
Pedro Lagoa is a visual artist whose work explores specific concepts of destruction and the destructive gesture’s potential as a powerful critical tool operating transversally through different temporalities.
His recent work has focused increasingly on the ongoing project archive of destruction, which was first presented publicly in London, 2007.
His work has been exhibited internationally, including: Appleton, Lisbon (2023); Culturgest (2020); Art Polygon, Gwangju (2018); Gasworks, London (2014); Museu de Serralves, Porto (2014); recyclart, Brussels (2014); Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich (2013).
Recent publications include Une Partie d’Échecs: Sieges and Stands (July 2023) and the book Notes Towards a Volcanic Impulse (2022).
Chair: Marta Labad
University of Technology, Arts and Design, Spain
Ana Catarina Pinho, conference convener