Interdisciplinary Conference - The Archive as Project

On May 13-14th, 2011 the Archeology of Photography Foundation in Warsaw, Poland, organises an interdisciplinary conference dedicated to the practice and theory/critique of the photographic archive. The conference is in the frame of “PhotoRegister” project. In the wake of the “archival turn” that took place in the last 15 years or so, there seems to be an urgent need to reflect on the role of the photographic archive in Central and Eastern Europe, not only for the humanities, but also in the context of art and politics – on the perspectives it opens and the dangers it creates.

The debates will concentrate on such issues, as “The totality/fragmentariness of the archive,” “Memory, history and the question of technology,” “The Institutional Perspective – questions of acquisition, research, and publicity,” and two main topics: “The poetics/politics of the archive” and “The archive holy/unholy — the archive secret/public,” whose aim is to raise key questions concerning the archive as metaphor and political practice, as well as the issue of the accessibility of archives in the age of digitalization.

Featured speakers:
Ariella Azoulay, Tomasz Basiuk, Wolfgang Ernst, Andre Gunthert, Ewa Klekot, Iwona Kurz, Harald Østgaard Lund, Lucia Nimcova, Natasa Petresin-Bachelez, Helen Petrovsky, Karol Radziszewski, Sven Spieker, John Tagg, Nina Lager Vestberg, Dmitri Vilensky, Wojciech Wilczyk, Herta Wolf, Akram Zaatari, and also representatives of institutions, such as the National Digital Archives of Poland (Nikodem Bończa Tomaszewski), History Meeting House, Norsk Teknisk Museum (Anita Nilsen), Open Society Archives (Miklos Tamasi), Langhans Gallery (Zuzana Meisnerova-Wismer), the Archeology of Photography Foundation (Karolina Lewandowska).

The title of the conference – The Archive as Project – points towards the necessity to seriously consider the question, if it is possible to identify and neutralize the automatisms (and bad faith) at work in archival practice? The aim of such a critical gesture being not to strive for the archive’s even more perfect transparency, but towards a conscious, explicit concept of its construction and politics, an understanding of the archive as project: a certain potentiality and a challenge for the future.

Registration (attendance is free but registration is required):
Please register by e-mail until April 30th, 2011 at the conference office. The registration should include: Name, professional status/institutional affiliation, e-mail address. The organisers will be happy to assist interested scholars in finding accommodation in Warsaw.

Krzysztof Pijarski (University of Warsaw),
Fundacja Archeologia Fotografii,
Conference office:
Piotr Słodkowski (University of Warsaw),
The conference is being organised as a part of the “PhotoRegister” project (, and funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, through the EEA Financial Mechanism / Norwegian Financial Mechanism.

Norsk Teknisk Museum, History Meeting House, National Digital Archives of Poland

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