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(W)archives. Archival Imaginaries, War, and Contemporary Art

Book Launch, Presentations & Discussion

25/02/21 7pm


How are digital and data technologies transforming the archives of contemporary warfare, and how are artists responding to these changes? Join Heba Y. Amin, Anthony Downey, Sophie Dyer and Oraib Toukan for the book launch of (W)archives. Archival Imaginaries, War, and Contemporary Art (ed. Daniela Agostinho, Solveig Gade, Nanna Bonde Thylstrup, Kristin Veel, Sternberg Press, 2021).

(W)archives brings together artists’ and scholars’ perspectives to investigate digital archiving as integral to the technology of warfare, and the response of art and visual culture to this material. (W)archive is used as a term to look at how digital archiving intersects with images, bodies, senses, infrastructures, environments, memories, and emotions. The book examines how this new digital archival material of war is addressed and reconfigures artists’ archival practices over the last decades. It suggests how archives can be mobilised to articulate political demands, shape new forms of evidence, and make palpable the experience of living with war.

The discussion is chaired by the book’s co-editors Daniela Agostinho and Solveig Gade.

Respondents invited to the discussion:
Nanna Thylstrup (Department of Management, Society and Communication, Copenhagen Business School) and Kristin Veel (Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen)

Read the introduction here (PDF download).

You can order your copy of the book here.

This event is part of the public programme for Heba Y. Amin’s exhibition When I see the future, I close my eyes.

Sophie Dyer is a feminist researcher and designer specialised in visual and open-source investigations. She works at Amnesty International’s Evidence Lab and is an Affiliate of The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Oraib Toukan is an artist and SNF scholar at the Forum Transregional Studien (EUME), Berlin. She holds a PhD in Fine Arts from the University of Oxford, Ruskin School of Art. Toukan is author of the book Sundry Modernism (Sternberg Press, 2017), and the essay-film When Things Occur (2016).

Heba Y. Amin is a multimedia artist from Egypt. She works with political themes and archival history, using mediums including film, photography, archival material, lecture performance and installation. Amin is currently the 2021 Spring Audain Visual Artist in Residence at the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. She is the co-founder of the Black Athena Collective, curator of visual art for the MIZNA journal, and currently sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Digital War.

Anthony Downey is Professor of Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa (Birmingham City University). He is the Cultural Lead and Co-Investigator on a four-year AHRC funded research project that focuses on cultural practices, education, and digital methodologies in Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan (2020-2024). He sits on the editorial boards of Third Text and the Journal of Digital War, respectively, and is the series editor for Research/Practice (Sternberg Press, 2019–ongoing). He is currently writing up his forthcoming volume Unbearable States: Digital Media and Cultural Activism in a Post-Digital Age (2021).

Daniela Agostinho is a cultural theorist and curator, currently affiliated with the University of Copenhagen. Her research is concerned with visual and archival legacies of colonialism, the aesthetics of late modern warfare, and more broadly with how art and aesthetics mediate and transform relationships to power. She is co-editor of Uncertain Archives: Critical Keywords for Big Data (MIT Press, 2021), (W)archives: Archival Imaginaries, War and Contemporary Art (Sternberg Press, 2020), and The Uncertain Image (Routledge, 2019).

Solveig Gade is a theatre and performance scholar and dramaturge. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen. Her research centers on experimental and post-dramatic strategies in contemporary theatre and performance and the ways in which these strategies respond to their surrounding political contexts. In her current research project, she focuses on war and conflict in the post-9/11 era as depicted in contemporary documentary performance, dance, and visual art.

Image 1: Series of first aerial photographs of Palestine and Syria, plain of Sharon and Ramleh from 4500 m, c. 1900-1920. G.Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection

Image 2: Coalition artillery base, Raqqa, 2017. Screenshot from Google Earth

Image 3: Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2019. Courtesy of Sophie Dyer CC BY 4.0

Image (square): Detail of the cover W)archives (Sternberg Press, 2021)


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