Bodies of Archives / Archival Bodies: An Introduction

TitleBodies of Archives / Archival Bodies: An Introduction
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsBattaglia, Giulia, Jennifer Clarke, and Fiona Siegenthaler
JournalVisual Anthropology Review
AbstractCompared to other disciplines and despite its central role in research practices, the concept of the “archive” has received insufficient critical attention in anthropology until recently. Anthropologists working in collaboration with artists and curators have experimented with forms of archive/archiving, raising important questions about both the collaborative and processual nature of archives. They thereby challenge ideas about the “archive” as a static repository of history. This special section begins with the premise that archives, prone to decay, dissolution, and rearrangement, are permanently in process. This perspective enables us to engage with cleavages and links between past knowledge and future imagination, as well as the role of representation and the anarchive. Our interest is not limited to objects, but also addresses the idea of the body (or collective bodies) as archives of experience, and the archive’s potential for collaborative artistic and ethnographic practices. We ask: What forms of collaborative work does the archive offer? In what ways can the collective sensibility of the archive be explored? What can we gain from a process-based notion of the archive? What implications does this have on the role of the archive in art and anthropology, and for the practices related to it in particular?
Short TitleBodies of Archives / Archival Bodies