Report on the 20 January, 2015 session ~ "The Archive" ~ with Anke Bangma, curator Photography and Contemporary Art at the National Museum of World Cultures

The evening seminar started with Anke Bangma’s lecture Multiple Subjectivities – Decolonizing the Ethnographic Photo Archive. Our understanding of the history of photography is changing as more and more attention is paid to photography outside the limited frame and narrative of the West. The lecture explored how new approaches may open up other histories within the ethnographic photo archive. How did photography serve practices of self-fashioning of a multiplicity of subjects? Can an archive that was once so invested in constructing images of ‘others’ contribute to new understandings of photography as a global medium?

The lecture was followed by a public conversation between Anke, Florian and David, which turned around questions such as: what constitutes an archive?; How should we approach it? The archive as a tool and as a method; Problems associated to working with archives: the loss of context and the lack of agency of the people depicted in the photographs; Archives’ accessibility; The archive in the visual arts and its relation with truth.

Anke Bangma