Art and Anthropology: from Archive to future


09 Mar 2017
Opening times:


Doors open 6pm


"When we evoke the archive, what are we conjuring by way of inclusion and exclusion? What, for instance, is the difference between an archive and a collection or between an archive and a hoard or between an archivist and a collector and a hoarder"(149)? Elizabeth Povinelli, “The Woman on the Other Side of the Wall: Archiving the Otherwise in Postcolonial Digital Archives”, Duke University Press.

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to view a conceptual archival artwork by Babak Ghazi called ‘Lifework’ at the wonderful Raven Row Gallery. This was an immense collection of the artists entire life viewed through the archive of meticulously indexed and categorised lever arch files, which served to create an alternative structure for the production and engagement with objects, things and ideas. What is important then is that Ghazi is creating an alternative future with the archive at its center.

In “Traces of the Future’ the art work of Arbugaeva and Neudecker along with the Anthropological field work of Prof. Wenzel Paul Geissler at the Amni Hill research center, whilst taking different positions, is also re-imagining a possible future from the archive.

It could be said then that conceptual artists utilise the archive as a form of entry point to produce an engagement with objects, things and ideas. Anthropologists, on the other hand, think with the archive as a way of contextualising their field and research. These two positions are very interesting because it opens up an important question.

How does the archive then become a space where conceptual artists and anthropologists meet, affect each other and in what ways can their practices combine?

Both positions are working through the same space but with different media and in different political authorities, the mode of engagement is different but the conceptual spaces of production, and relationships with the environments are the same.

What is interesting then is how conceptual artists and anthropologist engage in a conversation with a future archive as a way of redefining how we think and feel about a collection of things, objects and natural artifacts. How can we collectively define what an archive is and why the utilisation of them is important to a future production?

Through a collaborative film screening and panel event, held in conjunction with the exhibition, the Anthropology department at Goldsmiths, University Of London will critically engage with these themes and concepts.

I am very pleased to announce that the Panel will consist of:

Prof. Sophie Day

Dr Ricardo Leizaola (Film and Panel)

Dr Martyn Wemyss

Dr E. Gabriel Dattatreyan (Film and Panel)

Dr Pauline Von Hellermann

Mike Pearson

* still from Dr Trash by Dr. E. Gabriel Dattatreyan and Natasha Cohen-Carroll

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