series of talks and workshops, ongoing
Within the umbrella of Archive-as-Method I have been organising workshops and 'salons' to discuss critically the use of colonial archival material.
Archive as Method (Resistant Archives)
Amnistia, Brera Art Academy, Milan 2018
This cabinet is the result of a workshop held in May 2018 by the curatorial group of Amnistia with the artist Alessandra Ferrini, as part of A Bomb to be Reloaded, her research on the dismembered and forgotten archive of the Frantz Fanon Documentation Center.
The Centre was founded in 1963 in Milan by Giovanni Pirelli (1918-73, grandchild of the founder of the homonymous company), who in 1961 met the Martiniquan psychiatrist and philosopher Fanon in Tunis, becoming his main translator and promoter in Italy. Deeply influenced by Fanon's decolonial thought, Pirelli built a widespread international network to gather and disseminate information on anti-imperialist and liberation struggles in Africa, Asia, Central and South America. The Centre ended its activity in 1967 and then reopened in 1970 as Centro di Ricerca sui Modi di Produzione. Currently, parts of its documents, books and periodicals are found in Milan, scattered between the Institute for the History of the Liberation Movement In Italy, Cox18 and the Panetteria Occupata.
The reconstruction of Giovanni Pirelli’s activities as well as his exchange with Fanon and the anti-colonial movements allowed to reflect on both how to activate archival sources in the present, and on the positioning of engagé western intellectuals in regard to colonialism and decolonization in the 1960s and 1970s.
Archive-as-Method: Colonial Voices and Gazes
Sa.L.E. Docks, Venice, March 2017
The workshop covered:
- Methodological considerations on the 'artist-researcher'
- How to work with (colonial) archival sources in art
- Critical approaches to historiography and the 'archival impulse' in contemporary art
- Questioning the document(ary): expanded documentary forms
- Deconstructing the filmic process as well as historical and visual narratives
- Positioning within cultural practices
Working with Visual Documents of the Italian Colonial Heritage
School of Advanced Studies, University of London
5 December 2016
Presentations, short-film screenings and Q&A with:
Alessandra Ferrini, Gianmarco Mancosu, Martina Melilli and Jacopo Rinaldi
The Salon brought together artists, filmmakers and historians in order to discuss methodological approaches to the exploration and activation of colonial, archival material. Given the recent interest in the Italian colonial past, the salon aimed to shed light onto a previously marginalised historical period.
The first part of the salon introduced to the fascist imperial project and its legacy through Gianmarco Mancosu's research based on the newsreels on the Ethiopian War of 1935-36 and Alessandra Ferrini's essay film and pedagogic project Negotiating Amnesia (2015), which is based on archival photographs and propaganda postcards from the same period. The second part of the salon kicked off with Martina Melilli's presentation of an ongoing body of work stemming from her family's history in the Libyan colony and in Italy, after the expulsion of Italians from Libya in 1970. It was followed by Jacopo Rinaldi's problematisation of the truthfulness of archival material, through his research in the Pirelli Historic Archive (Milan), and the production of works exploring the rubber industry.