UNACCEPTABLE: THE UNPUBLICNESS OF PUBLIC ARCHIVES, a talk by Yane Calovski, PUBLICS, Helsinki

Yane Calovski, Former City, 2017–. Courtesy the artist and Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje. Photographer: Dragan Mitreski

Every time we experience loss of something associated with our collective history, be it a document, a building or a person, we feel that we lose our footing in both the present and the future. A disconcerting, disorienting and ultimately debilitating sensation. Moreover, the ideology of remembering and archiving is strongly felt also in the absence of an actual archive (for instance when it has been destroyed), which contributes to making all acts of artistic production around the archival challenging.

One key question emerging in my artistic research is how to use fragmentation, discontinuity and contingency as tools for re-contextualising knowledge from an archive. A visual work or a book based on archival sources is not just an exercise of thought but also constitutes a new physical and thus political reality. I will give examples from my recent practice, especially Undisciplined: A Construction of an Archive (2017–ongoing).

This project undertakes to re-archive the voluminous technical and photographic documentation of the master plan for Skopje by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, administered by a special UN fund from 1963 (when the city was devastated by an earthquake) until 1967. My project was triggered by another calamity: the fire that destroyed Skopje’s former Institute for Town Planning and Architecture in April 2017. As a way to make the idea of the archive, its loss and its after-life accessible both visually and discursively, I assembled a ‘post-fire archive’ from the remains of degraded and contaminated printed matter, documents, photographs and objects.

link: https://www.publics.fi/calendar/unacceptable-the-unpublicness-of-public-archives/

Yane Calovski: Personal Object, opens on Wednesday, 11 March, at 6–8pm at KOHTA, and remains on view until 10 May 2020.