Archive Ausser Sich
Longterm Collaborative Project on Archives 2017 – 2020
“Archive außer sich” is a project of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, part of a cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and Pina Bausch Foundation, part of “The New Alphabet,” a HKW project, supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag.
The question of the archive and of archiving is one of the biggest challenges of a small institution like SAVVY Contemporary, which is by default fragile and vulnerable, and which is constantly interrogating what an institution can be. What is at stake here is, on the one hand, the notion and infrastructure of the archive and its processuality and performativity. On the other hand, there is the deep need for an independent and autonomous archive as forensic evidence that will allow the institution to write its own practice into history. Archiving for such an organization becomes a challenge for the banal reason that it lacks the infrastructure needed to document and sustain an archive because of its intrinsic economic vulnerability. This is why we are interested in exploring the vulnerability and the fragility of archives through this project. We aim to create new digital infrastructures that are both sustainable in terms of the costs and labour force needed, as well as complex enough to prevent hacking and other hostile attacks. This is also an effort to engage with the inevitable questions of mortality or 'un-eternity'.
We focus primarily on further developing the infrastructure of some of our existing archives: SAVVY.doc, which accommodates rare cultural and political publications from around the world, especially philosophies from the non-West; the Colonial Neighbours archive, which hosts objects, anecdotes and traces of German colonial histories; the Performance archive, which deliberates on possibilities of archiving the ephemeral; the film-makers exhibition series, which acts as a form of archive to display that which is chiseled out of a film before it gets to the silver screen; the weekly film program, which engaged with the political potential inscribed in film-making for more than a year; and last, but not least, the archive of events and exhibitions at SAVVY Contemporary over the last nine years, which exists in video, picture and sonic formats.