Log in to
Email Address
Password
Forgot your password?
Not a member? Sign up now!

Approaches to the Archive: Fictional Histories?

Archival artworks “misbehave” in the museum, provoking an ongoing reevaluation of the organizational categories of the institution. Perhaps the contemporary relevance of these works is precisely that they refuse to settle comfortably — they demand different ways of doing, seeing, and thinking in the museum. As curator Mauricio Marcin would have it, they ask that we “keep on thinking.”

If the...

Show More

Sign in or create your account to participate in the discussion.

Latest discussion on: Approaches to the Archive: Fictional Histories?

Democracy3

This comment by Maha Mamoun about the uses of the archive may be of related interest.

"When I first started to inquire about how to get permission to use these scenes, I was advised by a friend in the industry not to start this quest for permissions as it would open up an overly complicated chase with no clear standards or procedures. This advice may have been affected by the knowledge of the context I work in, as a visual artist, and the field and venues my work will end up being shown in, which have so far been fairly “under the radar”. I imagine the advice would have been different if I had worked in cinema or television. I did not know which films I wanted to use or the durations of the scenes I would use until the work was complete, which did not make for a timely investigation of the question of rights. I comforted myself with the “quotations” alibi. Three years later, I am still trying to figure how to resolve this question of rights.Copyright laws and definitions of what falls in the “public domain”, which I am sure are more or less clear if one undertakes this research, were not so apparent to me. Or at least they were not the issue for me at the time of doing this project. In a second video that I’ve just recently made using clips from videos posted on YouTube, I was able to directly contact the people doing the uploading, who mostly happened to be the owners of that material, and they readily and simply allowed me to use it."

http://www.manifestajournal.org/issues/souvenirs-souvenirs/archive-fever-conversation-between-naeem-mohaiemen-maha-maamoun-and-rania

Show less »
Discuss (3) Print

This comment by Maha Mamoun about the uses of the archive may be of related interest.

"When I first started to inquire about how to get permission to use these scenes, I was advised by a friend in the industry not to start this quest for...

Show more »

I am really excited about this 'experiment' (or platform for experience, to sound less laboratorial) of Post as a platform for sharing part of knowledge or data from within a museum research structure in an archival structure that has relational content as its working mode. I believe that this can promote some interesting insights about how to re-think archive out of the terms of 'foundation of rational, objective knowledge'. But reflecting on the very interesting point that Uesaki Sen makes of the degree of fictitiousness that emerges from the selection of any material, how do you, at Post, are thinking about fictitiousness you are promoting when starting points of discussion by posting selected extracts of data/reflections here?

In other words, just as 'the “remains of the real” contained in the archive can bend our historical narratives to an unreliable account of the past and the present', the incorporation of any archive, or archival material, in a museum structure – and certainly a blog/website can be one of these structures – can also adulterate its meaning. Even if this starting point will be democratized by platforms of interaction and discussion, they still are, according to a Foucaultian understanding of archive, that said which is saved from an amorphous mass, hence, working as guiding statements. In being transformed in statements legitimised by the voice of a museum, how are you dealing or thinking to deal with this transformation and adulterated existence (or fictitiousness?) of the document status of artist's archives (in the Fluxus or mail art archives cases, for instance) turned into part or source of history? More than the crisis of the museum having to re-think its object-focused model for the incorporation of archives should not museums be more thoughtful and explicit about how the incorporation of an archive might mean its adulteration?

I am sure you are already reflecting about many of this issues, but it would be great to have more posts about your thoughts around that!

Despite my bombing of questions, I really enjoyed the points raised by this post, Zanna.

Show less »
Discuss (3) Print

I am really excited about this 'experiment' (or platform for experience, to sound less laboratorial) of Post as a platform for sharing part of knowledge or data from within a museum research structure in an archival structure that has relational...

Show more »
Zanna profile photo

Adulterated archive

Posted on 17 Jun

The fictitiousness of post's archive is something we have done a lot of thinking about because of MoMA’s association with specific kinds of histories. I think we can happily acknowledge that the stories we present here are partial, fictitious, adulterated, and flawed even. But we’re also aware that our fictions carry some weight. I’m not quite sure how we can deal with this; we cannot, nor have no desire to be encyclopedic in approach (and as you mentioned that would still, in Foucault's terms, constitute a fictionalized account). In a recent talk at MoMA, Mieke Bal described this kind of desire as imperialist. We would readily acknowledge that what is presented on post is a selective and somewhat fictitious representation but our hope is to open roads towards fictions that are under-narrated rather than over-constructed!

I think one benefit of the discussion on post is that despite being a sub-site of moma.org, post is not a space where only MoMA staff express their tastes and interests (although they are here!) and the site is envisaged as a place where that authority can be questioned, diluted, and merged with other perspectives. So, it is a totally fictional archive in that sense, one in which the narrative should be as diverse as possible, maybe even contradictory.

Thanks for the inspiration Fernanda – you may have noticed we renamed the theme after your post!

Show less »
Discuss (3) Print

The fictitiousness of post's archive is something we have done a lot of thinking about because of MoMA’s association with specific kinds of histories. I think we can happily acknowledge that the stories we present here are partial, fictitious,...

Show more »