Read now: Productive Archiving

Do not miss out on Valiz’s latest collaboration with H401:  Productive Archiving – Artistic Strategies, Future Memories, and Fluid Identities.

Edited by Ernst van Alphen, Productive Archiving discusses a variety of problems of archival organizations. It mainly focuses on three issues that are usually overlooked: first, the question of inclusion in or exclusion from the archive; second, the loss of individuality in the archive, the danger of homogenization; and third, that archiving may become a form of pigeonholing, boxing specific identities into a confined space.

It is especially this problem of homogenization and classification that is challenged by artistic archival practices. They use or make archives in order to explore alternative historical narratives and knowledge. […]

Instead of retelling the same heroic story, the archives should be challenged to tell other and different stories. And this can best be done by artists. Artistic research is employed as a method to discover something that is not intended and that is not already known, although hidden in this archival space.

van Alphen, Productive Archiving, pp. 25-26

Lars Ebert dives deeper into artistic research as a means for productive archiving with the chapter The Archival Space of Herengracht 401, pp. 146-164, within the section Archiving Memories and Histories.

By elaborating on H401 as an archive and on three artist residencies carried out in the space, Ebert offers three, among several, ways to actively engage with the (intangible) heritage of the foundation as well as Gisèle’s legacy. The artists presented – Amie Dicke, Ronit Porat and Renée Turner, focused respectively on a unique aspect of the archive: its decay, its ability to construct new meaning and conclusively its potential to engage in a conversation with the visitor.

As an institution we have learned to value the ongoing conversation with artists to negotiate the balance between the responsibility for the historical material and the mission to produce something new and meaningful for today. It is a field of tension that makes the archival space a productive space.

Ebert, Productive Archiving, p. 164


Editor: Ernst van Alphen

Contributors: Ernst van Alphen, Aleida Assmann, Annet Dekker, Lars Ebert, Sebastián Díaz Morales, Monika Huber, William Kentridge, Pablo Lerma, Inge Meijer, Santu Mofokeng, Merapi Obermayer, Walid Raad, Ana Paula Saab, Drew Sawyer, Carla Subrizi, Marjan Teeuwen, Daria Tuminas, Jeffrey Wallen

Design: Lotte Lara Schröder

Info: Spring 2023 | Valiz with support from Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds | pb | c. 24 x 17 cm (h x w) | 272 pp. | English | ISBN 978-94-93246-16-4