Symposium: Turn to the Archive! Ethics and the Making, Encountering, Imagining and Missing of the Archive – Thursday 23 April

Ruth Maclennan, The Gatekeepers, video 2001, installation view, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, 2015

Ruth Maclennan, The Gatekeepers, video 2001, installation view, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, 2015

 

Gorvy Lecture Theatre (Dyson Building, 1 Hester Road, Battersea, London SW11 4AN), 10.00-17.30

Download the full symposium programme with abstracts

The event is free but booking is required.

Eventbrite - Symposium: Turn to the Archive! Ethics and the Making, Encountering, Imagining and Missing of the Archive

Programme

10.00–10.30 Coffee, registration and welcome

10.30–12.30 The Making of Archives: Institutional, Artists’ and Digital Archives chaired by Prof. Juan Cruz, Dean of School of Fine Arts, RCA

Prof. Sean Cubitt, Professor of Film and Television, Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmith University
Archive Aesthetics

Mercedes Vicente, Curator, writer and PhD Candidate, RCA

Etienne Sandrin, Curator New Media, Centre Pompidou
In focus: Chris Marker’s Zapping Zone (Proposal for an Imaginary Television) 1990–94

12.30–13.30 Lunch break

13.30–15.30 The Encountering of Archives: Contest, Retrace, Reconstruct, Undo and Imagine the Archive chaired by Antony Hudek, Curator and Deputy Director, Raven Row

Jeremy Millar, Artist and Tutor, Critical Writing in Art and Design, RCA

Ruth Maclennan, Artist and PhD Candidate in Photography, RCA
The Enchanted Archive

George Clark, Assistant Curator Film, Tate Modern
Ben Caldwell and L.A. Rebellion: Ethnography and the Archive

15.30–16.00 Coffee break

16.00–17.30 Roundtable and final conclusions

Following the symposium:

18.00–20.00 Screenings of artists’ film and video – Re-imaginings of the Future

This symposium seeks to explore how and in what ways ethics may be used to question the archive and reciprocally the archive to question ethics, in the making of and the encountering with institutional, artists’, digital and other types of archives in moving image. It aims also to interrogate their function, institutionalisation, legitimacy, custody, and authority as well as the myriad ways artists contest, retrace, borrow, reconstruct, undo and imagine the archive to reveal ethical dimensions.

In the current digital age, the overload of information lures even amateur archivists to build their own archives. Raqs Media Collective reminds us that the “enhanced ‘visibility’ of the crises, particularly as a result of the intensification of the extensive presence of media networks, threatens to overwhelm all repositories of significant representations. […] [I]n order to apprehend reality as it is, in all its disarray, it has to permit the entry of the document as a ‘stable’ referent of the chaotic world it inhabits.” Yet, too, the archive as mnemonic device is fragmentary and selective. In what way might still and moving images, documents and material remnants represent or conceal history by virtue of what has survived from the past? Are fictive reconstructions of the archive more representative of the real? Is the archive a repository or a testimony? What is the archive’s authority in relation to its subject? Does the archive play an ethical function or serve to raise ethical questions? Does it shape or reveal our relationship to the past? How does the archive engage with multiple temporal zones: past, present and future? What do institutions/artists accumulate, (re)store, preserve and how is this changing in our digital age?

This symposium is convened by Mercedes Vicente, a curator and writer undertaking an AHRC-funded doctorate at the Royal College of Art. Vicente is contributing editor of Darcy Lange: Study of an Artist at Work (Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand and Ikon Gallery, 2008) published in conjunction with the exhibition Darcy Lange Work Studies in Schools (Ikon Gallery, 2008).

The Darcy Lange Archive has been generously loaned to the RCA by Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and is held at RCA Special Collections.