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The Whole Life: Archives and Reality

What can archives do for today’s society? How are historical realities translated into contemporary narratives? Can transformation be archived?

Archives are everywhere and always temporary. They reflect specific realities of different periods, while at the same time the knowledge of archives shapes our present reality in a profound way. Archives document emerging utopia and those which became reality, they testify to individuals, social networks and power relations. In doing so, they reflect and shape worldviews and at the same time preserve and shape our subjective perspectives. Archives embody more than a memory space of a society, for they constantly tell and reproduce knowledge constellations, social relationships, individual narratives and cultural structures of the present. Based on the Archiv der Avantgarden (AdA) of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, the project examines the archive as a place of permanent preliminarity in archive viewings, workshops, an interdisciplinary congress and an international academy. It also asks how the archive and its objects are perceived by the transformations of the present and what this means for the structure of the archive, its users, its technologies and its forms of knowledge production.

Laurie Young and I will be mentoring a class on the body as archive/the archive as virus. Apply until December 15th: