Shaping the past

Salma Kossemtini and Syrine Siala: “In our academic training in architecture and design, cultural heritage was something static rather than fluid, the narratives of the past were single rather than poly-voiced. Our curatorial interest circles around the many ways memories can be recollected, reshaped, redesigned. We understand that the past is not going anywhere, it stays with us, and if we don’t shape it, it shapes us.”

Archives as open sources

Nadia Mounier is interested in forgotten archives, especially those that can be re-interpreted away from the dominant narratives. She likes to explore different modes of archival materials, such as sounds, cultural collective memory, and personal stories. “I looked at concepts of time in relation to images, archives, and different states of forgetfulness … I was interested to understand pathways to the past that resists forgetfulness. “

More than one archive

Rania Atef: “How can we imagine parallel archives or archival art practices that fill the gaps in existing ones? And is it possible for these imagined ones to open up a wider space for questioning and thinking? Can they constitute a form of resistance to what is imposed?”

Sentimental Journey

Alexia Alexandropoulou: “The artist is looking at the historical ephemera and the archival images he collects from a hauntological point of view. Hauntology is a portmanteau of the word haunting and ontology, firstly introduced by philosopher Jacques Derrida to describe a “nostalgia for lost futures.”

Photography as an archiving process

Famkje Elgersma: “I decided to work on photography. … It’s about capturing moments photographically. How does a photograph make our surroundings visible and can it capture time? … Life keeps flowing, moment after moment, and although there is no standing still, photography allows us to capture those moments, to freeze them in the flow of time and to collect them like marbles.”

Based on archived imageries: Bettina Pelz contributed an essay based on a conversation with an artist who is building a personal archive of photographs and videos for more than thirty years and reassessing it continuously developing news compositions in associative rather than time- or theme-based rationales.

Working with iconic imageries

Hela Djobbi looked into photography as a raw material for contemporary art: “The photographs are transformed into another medium. They are decontextualized from being frozen as a historical document and become something present.”

Working with audio recordings

Kenza Jemmali: “I focus on a sound archive, a way of telling past stories through different sounds ranging from music to formal announcements broadcasted at that time to different bombing sounds. These sounds were part of the artist’s life during that time and continue to be part through memory. And not to forget that it broadcasts about some major events that happened in the Arab world from the 1960s until the 2000s.”

The consciousness of the body

Alexia Alexandropoulou: “Typically archives, such as museums or libraries, function as repositories of memory. But archives may also be experienced in different ways; our bodies can become vehicles for sharing stories.”

The knowledge of plants

Irene Urrutia discusses plants as part of eco-systems that collect and store, adapt and change over time. By approaching them through artistic research processes, plants become companions for accessing communal knowledge and imagining sustainable futures. “How can the plantscape help us reconfigure our understanding of its present problems and how to solve them?

Seas and oceans a repositories

Daniela Nofal is reflecting on the seas and oceans as archives. “I unsettle and challenge the frameworks of institutional archives today. I argue that the seas and oceans present a new way of looking at the archive and reimagining it, but also that they call for a new way of remembering, one that does not prioritize visibility and evidence, but rather one that is able to sense the world differently. Therefore, this presents an agitation that challenges the current methodologies of collecting and relaying, as well the underlying temporal frames upon which the archive is built and aims to present new possibilities.”

Reviewing strategies of archiving

Samira Bouabana: “I am working on an archive that is renegotiating what should be in design history, and what is also questioning the relationship to the design history of the Global North. We have a knowledge gap about our own history that needs to be bridged.”