Addressing the archive as a resistant cultural practice engages this resource from a perspective where neither preservation nor the desire to fetishize the past are primary concerns for the archival impulse. The archive is rather seen as a site of interaction and a “grid” that shapes new perspectives on the present through the past.
From this point of departure, the symposium explores the contested concept of the archive as it is experienced today between analogue and digital techniques, between de-colonizing imperatives and legal restrictions, between sustainability demands and the rethinking of exhibition formats in a state of transversal movement and constant flux. Within this scope of claims, the symposium connects to discourses that understand the archive as “a shared place”, as Ariella Aïsha Azoulay maintains. It underscores the claim of a pluralistic public to use the archive as a tool to make accessible the otherwise ‘liquidated’ narratives. At stake are archival practices that challenge ruling protocols through the documentation of material and ephemeral cultural moments that have been pushed to the margins. Such archival methods operate as an historical index and establish antagonistic public spheres. Drawn from artistic, curatorial, and academic perspectives, the contributions explore archival practices that interrelate with the diffuse socio-spatial zones of urban surroundings and the precarious ecological entanglements in the current climatic regime. The Sculpture Projects Archives in Münster serve as a resonant space for this, yet probing how to connect to other archives, art works and sites. With this, the symposium suggests a change in perspective in order to situate the archival logic within an expanded global cultural context and to challenge its conceptual features in the future.