Archive außer sich

Arsenal Cinema in Welserstraße

“Archive außer sich,” a three-year project of the Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, is a series of interdisciplinary research, presentation, and exhibition projects dealing with film cultural heritage and its archives. What is cultural heritage, what communities and narratives, what addressees and mediation formats can be derived from it and how durable are they? Or: what still unknown archives can the present produce?

 

The basis of this is formed by the idea of the Living Archive: research, digitization, and/or restoration of archival holdings are part of an artistic and curatorial practice of the present understood as participation. The archive is a site of production.
Out of the diversity of the starting materials–complete films, films that are damaged or can no longer be reconstructed, ephemeral films, working materials, marginal notes, and objects–as well as the specific localities of the partners–archives, cinemas, festivals, art spaces, universities, public television stations, databanks, a former crematorium–arises a question: What is a film archive today? What claims does the public make on archives and what present and future can be proposed, even speculatively, from archival constellations and new forms of navigation?

The archives involved become laboratories for critically reflecting on the category of film heritage, but also “heritage” in general, for instance in relation to colonial or migration history or to the history of political and aesthetic movements. Alongside its value for film history and theory, the project will also contribute to developing new perspectives on the politics of film culture. The term film heritage will be positioned in relation to other classification categories such as “transnational cinema” or “world cinema.” From political, aesthetic, or even chance connections, elective affinities will emerge from the present, contributing to devising new concepts of temporality.

Participating institutions: International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Film Feld Forschung gGmbH, Harun Farocki Institut, SAVVY Contemporary, pong film GmbH, the masters program “Film Culture: Archiving, Programming, Presentation” at the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Seminar for Film Studies at the FU Berlin.

“Archive außer sich” is a project of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, part of a cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and Pina Bausch Foundation, part of “The New Alphabet,” a HKW project, supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag.