Museum Quai Branly, Paris
Topic: This atelier-symposium was the outcome of Catarina Simão artistic residency at the Quai Branly Museum —as part of Marta Jecu's research project EXODUS STATIONS.
This atelier-symposium aims to rise a series of questions related to the recent history and history-writing on African art – through the perspective of museologic archiving methodologies.
The project is dealing with the museologic object on the level of its representation in the ‘museologic archive’ – on a visual level (photographies), but also on an administrative level (systems of organisation of the material, visual indexes).
The core questions of this project were circling around superpositions of meanings of African objects in the Quai Branly collection, revealed by their successive systems of storage in the various institutions that they have been part of.
Taking a closer look at collections originating from the ancient Portuguese Colonial Empire in Africa, questions arose around the emergence (at the beginning of the 20th century) of ethnological museums and their systems of production of meaning in Bissau, Mozambique, Angola. In a situation in which a concordant historiographical narrative on African art was missing in the Portuguese colonial context, disparate concepts and meanings for a variety of collected items started to be constructed and were part of a colonially oriented discourse. The theory of Luso-Tropicalism gave rise to a mechanism of hierarchisation and subordination of the collected ethnographic items, which was moderated by colonial interests.
In response to the historical processes connected to movements of decolonisation and of politicisation of the artistic avant-gardes, these mechanisms of construction of meaning have started progressively to be deconstructed and reformulated. The theoretic body produced in the colonial era (both by those who contested and those who perpetuated it, especially in the processes of formation of the new independent African states), has given rise to the formation of a specific universe of representation. Connected to these representations, new and more sound museologic proposals are being related to fields of meanings attached in time to the non-occidental object.
The atelier-symposium LA VOLONTÉ DES ARCHIVES proposes an ad-hoc, trans-disciplinary meeting of artists, academicians, researchers, museum practitioners and curators which will be invited to explore questions of archival representation of non-European and particularly African objects – from the point of view of their field of expertise.
While until today the usage of archive images is serving scientific interpretation and is functioning mainly as reference or documentation of a missing object, for the purposes of this symposium the persistence of the object in the archive plays a secondary role.
We propose during this symposium to draw the potential of the ‘object’ from the retro-active reconstruction of its parcourse, according to its representation in the archive. The richness of elements existent in the photographic collection of the Museum will be a predilect field of investigation, due to the fact that it represents a cumulation of photographic archives of successive institutions from the colonial epoch to today.
1-day Symposium, 3 PANELS:
1. History of objects and institutions: This panel is dedicated to African objects and collections according to their various representations in institutional archival systems. The panel aims to explore particular case-studies, but also theoretical aspects connected to the perpetuation and modifications of archival systems in time.
2. Practices of archiving and the role of visual representation: This panel explores the visual and administrative document as an object of collection. Archiving is seen as a tool of production of scientific content and at the same time of contributing to complex systems of historic and cultural education.
3. The museologic model: The exhibited object as a representation of itself inside the museologic space. Architecture, exhibition design and scenography function not only as the object’s framework of representation, but also as producers of meaning. The possible role of contemporary art for these practices of construction of meaning.
The symposium is accompanied by sessions of screenings of visual material associated to the research. We are inviting all participants to deliver beside their papers also a visual material (images in a sequence, video footage, fragments of archival material they have been working on etc.), which will be screened continuously during the symposium – building an image-text content.
CONSTITUTIVE PART OF THE EVENT IS A SCREENING OF VISUAL MATERIAL BY CATARINA SIMÃO: Two short documentary pieces for Television on Etnográfic Museums in Portuguese Colonial Overseas Territories – Dundo (1961) and Nampula (1964). Black and white. Source: RTP archives.
19th november 2018
salle A3-35, le 19 novembre de 11h à 18h30
The atelier-symposium LA VOLONTÉ DES ARCHIVES proposes an ad-hoc, trans-disciplinary meeting of artists, academicians, researchers, museum practitioners and curators which will be invited to explore questions of archival representation of museologic objects – from the point of view of their field of expertise. While until today the usage of archive images is serving scientific interpretation and is functioning mainly as reference or documentation of a missing object, we propose during this symposium to draw the potential of the ‘object’ from the retro-active reconstruction of its parcourse, according to its representation in the archive. The atelier will be constituted by lectures and screenings of visual research material of the participants.
L’atelier-symposium LA VOLONTÉ DES ARCHIVES propose une rencontre ad hoc et transdisciplinaire d’artistes, de chercheurs, de muséologues et de conservateurs qui sont invités à explorer des questions de représentation archivistique d’objets muséologiques – du point de vue de leur domaine d’expertise.Alors que l’utilisation d’images d’archives sert toujours de référence pour un objet manquant, nous proposons au cours de ce colloque de tirer le potentiel de l’objet de la reconstruction rétroactive de son lieu selon à sa représentation dans les archives. L’atelier sera constitué de communications et de projections video de matériel visuelle de recherche des participants.
PANEL 1: h 11 – 13.00 Short Introduction: Marta Jecu
SARAH FRIOUX SALGAS (Quai Branly Museum)
FRANÇOISE VERGÈS (Collège d’études Mondiales, FMSH)
JOSE GOMES PINTO (Universidade Lusofona, Lisbon)
PANEL 2: H 14.00 – 15.30
CRISTINA BALDACCI (ICI Berlin)
HELENE LARSSON POUSETTE (Swedish History Museum Stockholm)
CATARINA SIMÃO ( contemporary artist Lisbon, http://catarinasimao.berta.me/)
Coffeebreak 30 min
PANEL 3: 16.00 – 18.30
CHRISTIAN KRAVAGNA (Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien)
CHRISTINE BARTHES (Quai Branly Museum)
NATAŠA PETREŠIN-BACHELEZ (Independent curator and writer)
This atelier-symposium is an outcome of the residence of the Portuguese artist Catarina Simão, that took place in January 2018 in the Musée Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac and was supported by the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Portugal. The research and symposium-atelier benefit of the support of the Museum Quai Branly and specifically of Sarah Frioux-Salgas and Frederik Keck and the precious collaboration of Christine Barthe. The project is part of the research and curatorial project EXODUS STATIONS proposed by Marta Jecu and supported by Collège d’études Mondiales, FMSH and the Gerda Henkel Stiftung – to which we warmly thank.