Julie Louise Bacon | Arkive City

Arkive City

  • 26 Sep

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I edited the Arkive City (2008) publication from a series of five conferences that I co-curated in 2006 and 2007, entitled Performing the Archive. The project attracted a major research award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK. The anthology both documented and elaborated on the series of events, and featured a section of edited transcripts, as well as 12 commissioned essays. A map of Arkive City was included as an insert in the anthology. The map also served as the Home page of the Arkive City website, which featured the extended network of individuals and organisations whose work had been surveyed in the two-year project. The publication was launched in a day of events at Arnolfini in Bristol, England in November 2008.



I was co-curator of the Performing the Archive series whilst Research Associate for Art in Context at Interface Centre for Research in Art, Technologies and Design at the University of Ulster. The series explored the varied forms of archiving and collecting connected with contemporary material and digital culture and their relationship with the arts. The conferences were accompanied by PhD training events, exhibitions and screenings, involving over 50 artists, archivists, academics, curators and doctoral students from around the UK and Europe.

Below is the text from the back cover of the book:

Arkive City invites the reader on a journey through Kilmainham Gaol and Museum, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the Live Art Archives, to the Imperial War Museum, Arnolfini art centre and the Stasi Archive, to name but a few.

The context of this cityscape is one in which mass forms of (self) representation, dissemination, documenting and monitoring converge and influence the perception of information, knowledge, interaction, security, and indeed our imagining of time.

The contributors to Arkive City map out important questions and shifts in interest that have arisen from the changing role of archiving in culture, and its relationship with the arts, through their work: curating exhibitions in museums, (de)constructing (art) history, running library and government archives, initiating archives in arts organisations, and shaping individual practice.

Six themes underpin Arkive City, emphasizing the repercussions of archiving in terms of: Taxonomies, Technology, Memory and Identities, Liberty and Surveillance, Markets and Resources, and Voids.

This anthology offers a resource to all individuals and organisations interested in the relationship between aesthetics and politics, and the use of artistic and creative strategies to explore and influence the processes of history making and memory.”