Essay: Contingency, Dissonance and Performativity: Critical Archives and Knowledge Production in Contemporary Art

30 May 2015

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How do we define the ongoing relationship between contemporary art and the archive? Considering the unprecedented levels of present-day information storage and forms of data circulation, alongside the diversity of contemporary art practices, this question may seem hopelessly open-ended. In an age defined by the application of archival knowledge as an apparatus of social, political, cultural, historical, state and sovereign power, it nevertheless needs to be posed. In what follows, I will suggest that we can more fully refine the question and offer a series of conditional answers if we consider, in the first instance, the extent to which contemporary artists retrieve, explore and critique orders of archival knowledge.

Read the full Introductory essay.


Basel Abbas 
and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, John Akomfrah
, Jananne Al-Ani, Meriç Algün Ringborg, Héla Ammar, Burak Arıkan, Ariella Azoulay
, Vahap Avşar, Sussan Babaie
, Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck, Timothy P.A Cooper, Joshua Craze, Laura Cugusi, Ania Dabrowska, Nick Denes, Chad Elias, Media Farzin, Mariam Ghani, Gulf Labor, Tom Holert, Adelita Husni-Bey, Maryam Jafri, Guy Mannes-Abbott, Amina Menia, Shaheen Merali, Naeem Mohaiemen, Mariam Motamedi Fraser,, Lucie Ryzova, Lucien Samaha, Rona Sela and Laila Shereen Sakr (VJ Um Amel).

Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East launched on 30 May 2015 at JAOU Tunis 2015 at the National Museum of Bardo, Tunis.

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