An archive has no beginning, an archive has no end…?
This phrase has been thrumming in my mind through the first 2 days (there’s another day to come) of the exceptionally interesting symposium on ‘Archives, Art and Activism’ organised jointly between University College London and the University of Gothenburg from 3 to 5 Sept. The presentations have been extremely thought-provoking, so filled with energy and passion, and many (there have been lots of short papers as well as three longer ones) have been about new archives and accumulation in contexts where the potential for accumulation (collecting things in a converted way) can be, well, on-going or infinite. The concerns this raises for me are very practical ones: that the word ‘archive’ is being used expansively and to draw in things and processes I wouldn’t see as archival, that accumulation and re-presentation are for some being seen as ends in themselves, and that accumulation and activism are coverging in a way that seems to assume a relationship between ‘archives’ ( I’d say collections), accumulation, and collecting up the stuff of people who are nice, good, approved of, and not a lot of interest in things and people that aren’t approved of. But tomorrow we collectively reflect on our deliberations – and how interesting that will be, for doubtless more of the complexities will be raised. I shall blog again from the train home before settling down to cleaning more Pringle letters and then writing something about them.
Last updated: 4 September 2015