The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb



Lecture will take place on Wednesday, September 5th 2012 at 6 PM in Školica at MSU Zagreb
Workshop will take place on Thursday, September 6th 2012 from 11 AM till 4:30 PM in Školica at MSU Zagreb.

What is an archive? Once considered obsolete material made available in some retrievable manner, we now understand that archives are working tools for understanding the present. Archives exist in almost every category of interest, and have been maintained in many storage formats, throughout history. Kathy Rae Huffman, independent curator, will present an overview of archives, what kinds are important for curators to understand, and how access to them can provide invaluable information. Is what is materially present, visible, or legible adequate to an event that has passed out of present time? Other concerns, especially in the age of privacy and data protection, is the question of authority, or who controls archival material, and from what basis has this historical power been established. Among the several questions to be addressed, is “How does access to an archive facilitate curating?” Major exhibitions curated by Charles Merewether and Okwui Enwezor, and have laid the groundwork for further study and debate. The writings of media theoretician/philosophers Jack Derrida and Boris Groys; art historian Benjamin Buchloh; and the self-reflexive position of cultural theorist Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, present key approaches to understanding the power of The Archive.

The key-words ‘research’, ‘documentation’ and ‘database’, for example, have recently become popular (if not over-used) phrases, that have changed their reference in acknowledgement of a contemporary reading of The Archive. Huffman will illustrate how artists have influenced our concept of The Archive, and what archival art practice can offer. For example, artists such as Alfredo Jaar, Renee Green, Allan Sekula, Sanja Ivekovic, Walid Raad/The Atlas Group, Gabriel Orozco, Mark Dion, Vera Frenkel, and Susan Hiller (among many others) have taken the The Archive to new levels, creating new archeological and archival interventions, often with personal history and memory. No longer simply cabinets of curiosity, as in early Museum presentation, today’s archive is a creative storehouse, a collection of fragments revealing wide-ranging subject matter that is more than history, artifact, and document.

The workshop will cover more practical matters of The Archive, access, location, rules and regulations, the archivist, etc. Differences between archives, databases, libraries and special collections will be discussed. Some case studies will be explored, and hands-on research on special topics can be addressed as a small group or individually. The creation of an archive, and user friendly considerations, time permitting, can be included if of interest.

We kindly ask everyone interested to apply for the workshop till Tuesday September 4th 2012 at e-mail because of the limited number of participants.
Lecture and workshop will be held in English.
Both lecture and workshop are free.

Kathy Rae Huffman is a freelance curator, writer, and networker based in Berlin since 2008. To research the exhibition "Exchange and Evolution: Worldwide Video Long Beach,1974-1999," Long Beach Museum of Art (2011- 2012), part of Pacific Standard Time, she was a visiting scholar working in the archives of the Getty Research Institute (2010). She was project curator and touring coordinator for 'Transitland: Video art from Central and Eastern Europe 1980-2009', an archiving project realised by collaborative research, managed by InterSpace Association, Sofia, Bulgaria (2008-2011). She is currently researching for a major touring exhibition that surveys the pioneering photography, video and performance work of the late Nan Hoover (1931-2008).

Huffman has held curatorial posts at the Long Beach Museum of Art (1980-1984), The ICA Boston (1984-1991), and Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK (2002-2008). While based in Austria (1991–1998) she was a freelance consultant for the Soros Centers for Contemporary Art in Eastern and Central Europe; curated programs for The Ars Electronica festival; and was coordinator for piazzetta participation during Van Gogh TV’s 100 day documenta television project ‘Piazza Virtuale’ (1992). She was appointed professor of electronic art at Rensselear Polytechnic Institut, Troy, NY (1998-2000), where she directed the undergraduate BS program EMAC (Electronic Media Art and Communication) which she left to become director of Hull Time Based Arts, in the UK (2000-2002). She has lectured, presented programs and workshops, written about, consulted for, and coordinated events for numerous international media festivals and arts organisations.

Huffman’s independent research is focused around issues of the history and development of media art and artists’ television as well as female Internet environments. Her interest in pioneering female artists working with digital and analogue technology has been presented in a presentation: 'Machine Divas: Time Travellers”. As a writer, she contributes to artists catalogues, as well as She initiated the multimedia column ‘pop~Tarts’, for the Telepolis online journal (1996-1998), co-writing with Margarete Jahrmann. In 1997, she co-founded the international online community for women in media “FACES: Gender/Technology/Art” (with Diana McCarty and Valie Djordjevic). Her pioneering Internet project work Siberian Deal (1995) and Face Settings (1997) with Eva Wohlgemuth (Vienna), is accessible online. Huffman received an MFA in Exhibition Design from California State University Long Beach in 1980, where she also completed the post graduate course in Gallery and Museum Studies.

Program Curating and the Archive has been realized by POLIGON as a part of programme „School under the Tree“.
Coordination: Sandro Đukić (POLIGON), Nataša Ivančević (MSU)
Partners: MSU Zagreb, MMSU Rijeka, MSU Istra
Financial support: Ministry of Culture Republic of Croatia and City of Zagreb

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