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About Archive/ Counter Archive Conference

Archive/ Counter-Archive is a two-day conference with associated exhibition and web project offering fresh thinking and dialogues on the current relations between contemporary art and the archive.  The focus of the conference has been shaped by the ways artists are responding to the archive, but also by the histories - and future possibilities - of practices of collecting and drawing.
Keynote speakers include internationally renowned thinkers and curators in the field, Professor Okwui Enwezor and Dr Charles Merewether.

Archive/ Counter-Archive takes as its subject the relation between contemporary art and the archive.  The impetus for the conference is a set of questions shaped by historical and cultural conditions in Australia, as well as contemporary art practice internationally.
Archives are the repositories of materials and records reflecting the imperial processes of invasion and dispossession, as well as narratives of resilience and resistance. Open to new excavations and readings of the materials it contains, the archive might be seen as ambivalent to the histories drawn from it. Whilst this ambivalence might be necessary for the political survival of the archive, does it also drive the emergence of various forms of counter-archive?

These tensions are evident in the work of contemporary artists working with the archive as resource and form, both in Australia and internationally. Archive/ Counter-Archive is informed by the relationships between contemporary art and the archive in regions where historical traumas or ruptures have occurred; how artists engage colonial narratives through the archive, either with or against official repositories; the different relationships with power available through the archive, and through different kinds of archives; the way new archival technologies and forms might offer new possibilities for the archive and for artists.
For The Centre for Drawing the interest in collaboration in this conference is in the potential to explore the particular relationship of drawing and the archive through both the capacity and focus of contemporary artists using drawing to originate, locate, develop and interpret archival collections, and the reflection on the role of the archive in narrative, collective memory and identity.

In addition to the conference of 12 speakers and discussion sessions, Archive/ Counter-Archive presents satellite events and an exhibition at the additional Prato venue, Dryphoto.

Presenters include: Azra Aksamija (Bosnia and Herzegovina/ USA), Andrew Benjamin (Australia), Rossella Biscotti (Italy), Sonia Boyce (UK), Brian Catling (UK), Victoria Lynn (Australia), Avis Newman (UK), and Tom Nicholson (Australia).

A partnership between the Faculty Art & Design, Monash University, Melbourne and The Centre for Drawing, a Research Centre of the University of the Arts London, Archive/ Counter-Archive will be held at the Monash Centre in Prato, Italy, on 10 and 11 July 2009. The conference is the initiative of CARGO, an independent association of artists, writers and curators based at the Monash University Faculty of Art & Design in Melbourne. [1] It is the second in a series of conferences co-organised by these institutions, the first being Drawn Encounters, Complex Identities, a conference discussing drawing and inter-cultural encounters, held at the British School in Rome in September 2008.

[1] The Contemporary Art and the Archive Research Group (CARGO) comprises Geraldine Barlow (curator at the Monash University Museum of Art), Victoria Lynn (curator and writer), Tom Nicholson (artist, and lecturer, Fine Arts, Faculty of Art and Design, Monash University), Spiros Panigirakis (artist and Lecturer, Sculpture, Faculty of Art and Design,), Zara Stanhope (curator and writer) and Kit Wise (artist, Lecturer and Acting Head of Fine Arts, Faculty of Art and Design).

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Archive/ Counter-Archive Conference
Venue: Monash Centre in Prato, Italy.
Date: 10 and 11 July 2009
Contact: Email A/CA Conference