rom 11 -15 December 2016, the Pan African Space Station (PASS) landed in Amsterdam, transmitting live from the OBA Central Library. The PASS live studio featured a 5-day programme as an experiment in speaking, listening, playing, partying and community; as a performance and exhibition space; a research platform and living archive. Amsterdam featured collaborations with artists, filmmakers, writers, musicians and rebels whose practices draw from and respond to a variety of contexts; to prompt us, through performance, conversation and other forms, to imagine how worlds connect.
Re(as)sisting Narratives: Exploring the past to write the future
The exhibition Re(as)sisting Narratives opened on Sunday 28 August at FramerFramed in Amsterdam (NL). The show is the result of a 2-year project involving both Dutch and South African institutions, art professionals and artists. Through the exploration of lingering legacies of colonialism between South Africa and the Netherlands, the show addresses multiple subjects such as race, gender, or memory. In her interview with IAM, curator Chandra Frank shares her views on the role of archiving and art archiving.
IAM: The first question is related to the ‘futurity of the archive’ – how do you, as a curator, see archiving moving forward? With rapid digitisation and the influx of databases, will these methods continue to be appropriate?
Chandra Frank (CF): I see the archive existing in multiple forms and shapes. Archives enter the exhibition space in various ways and I am interested in unpacking these processes. In my view, archives are constantly moving and shifting. Sometimes archives indeed move us forward, but when dealing with lingering colonial legacies, archives sometimes prevent a moving forward.
For instance, there is so much paper trail and documentation of coloniality within the Dutch context. Violent documentation as Saidiya Hartman suggests often needs to be read “against the grain”. We need to readdress these archives and question what these archives reveal about coloniality, race, gender and class. Through doing so, we are able to interrogate memory and its relationship with the making of history. Thinking through the ‘futurity of the archive’ is key because some of our histories are locked out of official narratives or simply not told. Which obviously does not mean they are not there; many communities have relied on oral histories, or keeping hidden archives under beds, ceilings and in trunks.
I am inspired by work done by black and brown queer artists and scholars that navigate the necessity of future archives. I think we need to critically question the rapid digitisation and influx of databases. For one, because these are also made, systems are created in certain ways that may include particular narratives while excluding others. Tagging or filing systems in this sense are also biased. Sometimes we lose narratives in what we try to preserve. In this sense, I think we need to re-conceptualise the notion of the archive and to broaden its meaning and purpose. Archives are also embodied. I believe we walk with archives daily and I see myself to be part of what Stuart Hall calls a ‘living archive of the diaspora’. I am interested where and when these narratives end up in the exhibition space. Trying to make sense of our histories is a continuous project. More traditional forms of archiving are constantly refigured and discussed differently, and I think conversations on this will continue to be held. At the moment I am inspired to think through archives of pleasure, intimacy and the relationship with art. This to me underlies much of the future queer and the making of black and brown archives.
Public Talk at Centre for Curating the Archive - 18 February 2016 Cape Town
Interview on 'Archives Matter: Queer, Feminist and Decolonial Encounters Conference' on radio KPFK (LA) /
A look at the upcoming Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center's Annual African American Film Marketplace and Short Film Festival with the founder, Sandra Evers Manly; Takinga a cue from Zora Neale Hurston, who was born 125 years ago(WHOA!) by discussing how "Archives Matter" with London-based curator Chandra Frank; and Muslim Accountability and Anti-Blackness in the midst of growing Islamophobia in the United States with writer Sameer Gardezi.
Thursdays @ 8 am on KPFK, 90.7 / 98.7 FM in L.A. and Santa Barbara and on the web @ www.kpfk.org
Public keynote by Chandra Frank hosted by Belgian Renaissance in collaboration with VUB-RHEA. Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Together with Joëlle Sambi Nzeba of Festival Massimadi (Africa and Diaspora LGBT Film Festiival) and Warrior Poets (Brussels Arts Collective).
Produced by Framer Framed and Chandra Frank
Armed with arresting archives, paper posters and glue, the Burning Museum burns history bright for all to see. Cut, paste, snip, plak, sak, pap, plat, bek! Burning Museum, represented by Tazneem Wentzel, Jarret Erasmus and Justin Davy present an overview of their work on the streets of colonial Cape Town.
Contribution to Martin Luther King Day organised by Humanity in Action and De Balie in Amsterdam.