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Art and Anthropology: from Archive to future

Thursday, March 9, 2017
Opening Hours: 
doors open 6pm
The Nunnery, 181 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ

"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?"
Elizabeth Povinelli, “The Woman on the Other Side of the Wall: Archiving the Otherwise in Postcolonial Digital Archives”, Duke University Press

Through a film screening and panel event with the Anthropology department at Goldsmiths, University of London, this event will examine the cross-overs between art and anthropology, from the archive to the making of new work, held in conjunction with the Traces of the Future exhibition.

Many years ago Matthew Stock was fortunate enough to view the conceptual archival artwork Lifework by Babak Ghazi at the 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. These served to create an alternative structure for the production and engagement with objects, things and ideas. Ghazi was creating an alternative future with the archive at its centre.

In Traces of the Future, the artwork of Arbugaeva and Neudecker, made alongside the anthropological field work led by Prof. Wenzel Paul Geissler at the Amani Hill Research Centre, also re-imagines possible futures from the archive. It could be said 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 interesting as they open up an important question: how does the archive 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. Art and Anthropology: from Archive to future will look at how artists and anthropologists 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 artefacts.

Panel: Dr E. Gabriel Dattatreyan (Film and Panel); Prof. Sophie Day; Dr Ricardo Leizaola (Film and Panel); Dr. Mike Pearson; Dr Pauline Von Hellermann; Dr Martyn Wemyss
Led by Matthew Stock.

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Images: Mariele Neudecker Amani Vanitas series, 2014/17; still from Dr Trash by Dr. E. Gabriel Dattatreyan and Natasha Cohen-Carroll