[-empyre-] posted for Johannes

Renate Ferro rtf9 at cornell.edu
Sun Oct 10 02:40:43 EST 2010

This post made by Johannes did not go through on the moderators site.   Our
apologies to him.
RE: [-empyre-] Culturally specific archives
You replied on 10/8/2010 1:32 PM.
Sent:    Thursday, October 07, 2010 10:30 PM

dear all

Craig's and Mona's interventions, on culturally specific archives,
protocol-aware content, safe places/revealing and persistence, were timely
and very important, throwing us off a bit in a way that I had not expected,
yet am very grateful to, since you have experiences with communities and
particular, as Mona calls them, pre-digital and "pre-industrial" cultural
works -- are we here then talking about oral traditions and practices,
performance and dance (non verbal practices), or are you, Mona, mostly
engaged with the film and TV heritage, and what, then  do you mean by "works
with behaviors"?  are these moving images of what kind of "instantiations"?

Jon has now thrown in a splendid text which brings forward the
"performative" dimensions of live archiving that we tried to discuss last
weekend when Yann's creative ever-moving "l' archive recombinante" showed up
here. The "works with behaviors" could mean films or moving image documents
of performative/restored behavior, but "heritage" -- is this notion now
mashable with Diana Taylor's crucial terms of the "archive" and the
"repertoire," and is not Taylor's binary itself not a binary but a
wonderfully alive dialectic?  oral traditions, i would suggest, are living
archives with living repertoires, and thus always potentially or actually
variable and modifiable, contingent, no?

I wish to add a small observation (salty, I hope),  as just as Craig wrote
to us about the Warumungu community, I receive a gift here from a Canadian
friend,  a bi-lingual book that was years in the making, so let me introduce
(I don't have the font type for the Inuit language):

"Art and Cold Cash,"  edited by the Art and Cold Collective (Ruby
Arngn'naaq, Jack Butler, Sheila Butler, Patrick Mahon, and William Noah),
Toronto: YYZbooks, 2009.

this is a mind-blowing, multi-layered, creative investigation, having taken
place from 2004 to 2007 and connecting contemporary "art" to discourses
surrounding money (capitalism, traffic, etc),  in a series of artistic
activities and experiments located in northern and southern Canada. Jack
Butler, Sheila Butler and Patrick Mahon, three contemporary artists whose
practices are normally situated in southern Canada, here worked on the
project in collaboration with writer Ruby Arngna'naaq and artists William
Noah, two Inuit members of the Art and Cold Cash Collective who lived
through the change from a barter economy to capitalism in Baker Lake,
Nunavut, during the twentieth century.

The book is a compelling document of a formidable project that involved
storytelling, interviews, community-based art practice, drawings, sculpture,
and videos produced for exhibitions in galleries and airports in the north,
and in Toronto, Winnipeg, and Barrie, Ontario. "Art and Cold Cash"  features
documentation of those activites and artworks, and includes essays by the
collective members and other commentators, as well as interviews in English
and Inuktitut, where eight Baker Lake residents, some of whom are artists,
recall their poignant first engagements with capitalist exchange in response
to the query, “Do you remember when you first used money?"

In the foreword, I notice that Smaro Kamboureli refers to the document as a
"living archive," addressing the highly convoluted politics of exchange
(between north and south, the residents and the artists, the domestic and
the foreign) that were taking place, highlighting the conflicts that money
inevitably introduces  when art is forced to shed its mask of putative
purity, when it becomes "documented"
or a government instrument, when - more
specifically – "Eskimo art" is invented in the double name of sustainability
and benign accountability.

Without going deeper into this, it seems apparent that the uneven politics
of cultural exchange are not sufficiently addressed by us, as we discuss
Yann's digital swarm & performance theory, and look at cases of persistence
where they are undertaken. Some one pointed out we need to be grateful to
the archivers (e.g. Daniel Langlois Foundation), and why is is this
necessarily so, and what are the unspoken hierarchies implicit in Jon's
post, not only for broadcasting.

and Yann then comes back with another provocation:

>> I believe that there is no archive, but only things pointing to other
 things, lost in compressed and always reconsidered times. Archiving is  an
utopian capitalistic concept. Preservation does neither act on the
past or on the future, it's a posture trying to understand the actual.>>

well, the more unmasking, the better.

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