W/ri/gh/ting Archives through Artistic Research
FWF I PEEK project
led by Rafal Morusiewicz, Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies
Duration: 1.10.2022 – 30.9.2025
This collaborative artistic-research project, dedicated to working in/with archives, recognizes imperial and colonial violence underlying conventional archival practices and reflects on the possibility of transforming this violence into something generative. It extends critical attention towards the relationship between conducting artistic research dedicated to archives and performing the work of archiving in artistic ways, both of which derive from queer studies, decolonial studies, applied human rights, and critical archival studies. It proposes a process-oriented approach that involves collaboratively practicing and theorizing on artistic-research methods with the aim of building a sustainable Vienna-based network of artists and institutions working with archives. A key element for the above is technology, employed as a tool that enhances the project’s accessibility, as a format of artistic research, and as an alternative modality of collaboration.
The project’s core operational strategy converges two motivations: to conceptualize archives as relational entities and to recognize the epistemological shift towards practicing research as art. Methodologically, this strategy is defined by two intersecting agendas, described by Eve Tuck and C. Ree in their "A Glossary of Haunting": of "righting the wrongs," which expresses a call for ethics and justice in archive-based research, and of "writing the wrongs," which investigates possible modes of representation and narration for archival research. Along this proposal, the project practices and negotiates artistic-research methods of archival research by continuously updating its methodology on the basis of the knowledge generated through its methods, outcomes, and collaborations, and by fostering a network of artists and institutions that research, theorize on, and perform arts-based archival research.
For this purpose, the project employs a few methods, concentrated within its "Cartography," the knowledge repository and web-based platform, which, together with its design, coding, launch, and updates, functions as a research journal and a space where the artistic-research production is performed, documented, and discussed. This includes Co_Labs, a three-part "laboratory" that hosts collaborative artistic-research practices by inviting researching artists and institutions to do critical work towards the project’s projected outcomes (exhibition, book publication, workshop), as well as Net_Works, a web-based residency program that invites specific positions in sound art, writing, and community-building work to critically engage with and contaminate the intended course of action.