The Discussion on the ‘institutionalisation’ of art and the role of the archive in documenting recent art histories started with an Introduction from Nayia Yiakoumaki who is the archive curator at Whitechapel Gallery and has finished a PHD at Goldsmiths Visual Arts department.
Nayia started by talking about the general definition of archive in its task to perserve memory and the role of the curator or archivist. She explored two layers under Authorship : the first of all sorts of individual creation of an item in an archive and the second a temporal and permeable authorship. She told us about how she started working in 2001 with the whitechapel archive, which was literally a basement filled with boxes and files and what kind of physical constrains and security issues existed in this process. Her initial approach to it was ‘an anarchy browsing” which turned into a catalogued regulamented archive. It is now open to the public 4 days a week and has its gallery adjacent to it where Nayia’s role is now as there is also a full time archivist.
‘The Nature of the Beast” from Goshka Macuga was given as a case study on how past exhibitions feed back on present ones and how relevant that is in the actual context.The questions raised regard to the increasing importance of archiving procedures and the current trend on instituitions.
Following came Sonia Hope that talked about Iniva’s history from its creation in 1994, the role of institutions in perserving art and the Physical vs Digital dilema archive.
Ashwani Sharma is a lecturer at University of East London in Media Cultural studies and explores the issues of memory inhis research. He started by asking: “Why the recenet , last 20 years, interest in archive?”. It might be perhaps due to the nature of the recording automatiztion of the digital, or it might be an answer to an information overload we live in. It is an attempt to make sense of all the leaking information. Maybe the present is so bad that we go back to the past to resource our identities. Sharma carried on speculating about the consequences that this has upon has, that we are suffering from a cultural amnesia!That we forget things very quickly ut we collect more and more stuff. How do we process and make sens of things? We are loosing the past and forgeting memory, which has become a commodity.
Other interesting views raised from his informal speech were the spaces and gaps between things in archive. Abscence in archive. Making the invisible visible and the difference from the past and the document from the past.The Digital Handsworth archive was shown through out his presentation , city where Sharma came from , showing the conections between archive and identity.