Electric Brine – Virtual Book Release

12.06.2021, 7pm UTC+2

Archive Books invites you to gather and delve into the poetry and critical essays of six women working with emergent debates surfacing in the environmental humanities around fluids.
The online conversation brings together three of the book’s contributing authors: theorist, critic, and translator Sophie Lewis, essayist Esther Leslie, and poet Lisa Robertson. On this occasion they will dive into the nuanced expositions of substance and form, and the manifold literary and scientific “fabulations” around material transfer and flow in relationship to their writing and current research. Editor Jennifer Teets will moderate the evening and hold a conversation with co-editor Elise Hunchuck on the publication’s “metabolic digestion of text” per its design and layout, as well as a detailed account of The World in Which We Occur live event series and its associated online study group Matter in Flux. Matter in Flux members will join the Q&A in a lively unraveling of the state of material politics today in discussion with the authors. Texts presented from the volume include: Amniotechnics by Sophie Lewis, Fog, Froth and Foam: Insubstantial Matter in Substantive Atmospheres by Esther Leslie and On Form (for Jane Ellison) by Lisa Robertson.

Flowing, seeping, leaking, cascading, shaping. Electric Brine is a volume of poetry and critical essays by women voices from diverse fields such as literature, geography, media studies, history of life sciences, sociology, and poetics of science and fiction, each of them central to the independent curatorial research entity The World in Which We Occur (TWWWO, 2014-ongoing) and its associated online study group Matter in Flux. Conceived as an anthology and a register, it serves as a testimony to the initiative’s long-standing work of creative adaptation and ecological inquiry through a quest to situate a vision of material politics through the lens of six punctuated pieces on flow and fluids. The literary and scientific fabulations found in these pages speak of the conjunction of lived embodiment, the materialized quality of language, and the ability to trigger political imagination through reading, writing and witnessing. Each of these strands polyperform under TWWWO, for they can be traced, retroactively, to the themes present in the live event series, to Matter in Flux’s private study sessions, to the initiative’s collective writing work presented in public venues and publications. Also included in this volume is an appendix documenting the years of invitation and study, intricately linked to the ideological praxis of these overlaps.

Read more about the book here.

Esther Leslie is Professor of Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck, University of London. Her books include various studies and translations of Walter Benjamin, as well as Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant Garde (Verso, 2002); Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry (Reaktion, 2005); Derelicts: Thought Worms from the Wreckage (Unkant, 2014), Liquid Crystals: The Science and Art of a Fluid Form (Reaktion, 2016) and Deeper in the Pyramid (with Melanie Jackson, Banner Repeater, 2018). Current research includes a text on the history and present of the device, a study of turbidity and media, a biography of the composer and radio experimenter Ernst Schoen, research for an exhibition at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art on the chemical industries of the North East of England and the poetic and political significance of butter in Ireland for the Limerick Biennale.

 

Sophie Lewis is a communist living in Philadelphia, a member of the Out of the Woods collective, and an essayist on questions of social reproduction theory, queer critique and heterosexual culture. She is the author of Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family (Verso Books, 2019), and a teacher at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. She is also a Visiting Scholar at the Alice Paul Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Books she has helped translate from German to English include Communism for Kids by Bini Adamczak, A Brief History of Feminism by Antje Schrupp, and The Future of Difference by Paula- Irene Villa and Sabine Hark. Her repro-utopian free-lancing can be accessed and supported at patreon.com/reproutopia.

Lisa Robertson is a Canadian poet, essayist and novelist who lives in France. She began publishing in the early 90s in Vancouver, where she participated in a diverse community of poets, visual artists, and academics, who chose to work collectively, organizing talks, workshops, exhibitions, publications and reading groups whose topics moved across the disciplines of contemporary art, literary studies, poetics, cultural studies, and political and social history. Her 12 books include The Weather (2001), a poetic text that critically engages the rhetoric of British meteorology from the seventeenth to early nineteenth centuries, and which has been translated to French and Swedish; Occasional Works and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture (2003), a collection of essays considering the architectural and urban history of Vancouver in terms of a phenomenology of surfaces; Nilling: Prose Essays on Noise, Pornography, the Codex, Melancholy, Lucretius, Folds, Cities and Related Aporias (2012); and 2020’s The Baudelaire Fractal, a novel considering the urban history of Paris in relationship to nineteenth century French painting, and 1980s girlhood. Her current research involves Émile Benveniste and a linguistics of poetics, and wide rime, an ongoing study of the troubadour culture and poetry of the twelfth and thirteenth Occitan region.

Jennifer Teets (editor of Electric Brineis an American curator and writer based in Paris working at the intersection of science studies, literature, and performance. She is interested in the “backstory” of matter, its conditioning as both ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ vis-à-vis materials such as milk and cheese (post trauma goat milk production), terra sigillata (sealed medicinal earth), and mud. Within her work she addresses the roles of consumption and contamination as an embodiment of thought which then performs, spores, proliferates. She has curated numerous exhibitions and talks since the early 2000s with artists and thinkers worldwide and is the director/convener of The World in Which We Occur, a research-based entity that explores themes concerned with artistic inquiry, philosophy of science, and ecology and its associated study group Matter in Flux. Since 2014 she has collaborated with artist/philosopher Lorenzo Cirrincione on Elusive Earths, an ongoing in situ work, process, and inquiry that looks at the elusiveness of rare clays, soils, and earths with forgotten origins. She is editor of Electric Brine (2021) published by Archive Books, Berlin.

Elise Misao Hunchuck (co-editor of Electric Brineis a Canadian transdisciplinary landscape researcher, editor, and writer based in Berlin. Elise is a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art and a senior researcher and lecturer at The Bartlett School of Architecture, London. She is co-editor of Electric Brine (2021) published by Archive Books, Berlin and an editorial board member for the journal Scapegoat: Architecture/Landscape/Political Economy. Elise is the editorial curator for transmediale 2021–22.

Matter in Flux (MiF) is an educational and knowledge building axis attached to the curatorial research-based entity The World in Which We Occur (TWWWO). MiF is committed to critical analysis, sociological inquiry, debate, and collective writing. Most of our work is done behind the internet’s curtains: many of us are artists, curators, theorists, and health practitioners working at the intersection of various disciplines. Our interrogative line considers politically enmeshed scientific affairs in ecological politics and policy, economies of transition, history of science, material studies, and gender studies in science. When reading and in session, we focus on metabolic transactions, plasmatic fictions, and various degrees of para-scientific approaches.

Past events

Changes in Direction
– a Journal
Digital book launch

10.04.2021

Changes in Direction – a Journal provides multivocal and transnational African-European statements to current decoloniality debates from different perspectives. The Finnish-German artist Laura Horelli engages with the traumatic and complex histories of colonialism and international solidarity between East Germany, Finland and Namibia, staging micro-historical interventions in public spaces. Her films transform the archive into a space – and publication – of reflective engagement. The artist’s compilation of research, interviews and discussions in this bilingual German-English volume are enriched by contributions by the Namibian performance artist Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja, the German curator-theorist Doreen Mende and the Finnish writer Olli Löytty. Initially an exhibition project and film screenings shown in Berlin, Freiburg i. Br., Malmö, Helsinki and Windhoek, Horelli and the curator Heidi Brunnschweiler put together a volume that celebrates and critically reflects on art as a process.

Following the screening of Laura Horelli’s works Namibia Today, Interviews, and Newstime which offered an insight into Horelli’s practice an online gathering was held to discuss the publication. At the online gathering curator Heidi Brunnschweiler introduced the project, while Laura Horelli spoke about the structure of the publication and referred to the works featured. Nashilongweshipwe Mushaanja discussed his text “’Making Love’: Solidarity in Decolonial Times” and Doreen Mende talked about her contribution “The Image-Complex of Modernity’s Grandchildren”.

Documentation of the event will soon be available on this page.

HEIDI BRUNNSCHWEILER is a Swiss curator, art scholar and art critic. She has conducted scholarly and curatorial activities in Switzerland and the UK. Since 2014 she has been the Head of Visual Arts and a curator of Galerie für Gegenwartskunst, E-WERK, Freiburg i. Br. She has curated numerous exhibitions, among others by Jorinde Voigt, Jananne Al-Ani, Theo Eshetu, Natasha A. Kelly, Sven Johne, Laura Horelli and Jaki Irvine. In her dissertation, she examined the significance of the photographic in the work of Christian Boltanski. As an editor she published among others Futures of the Past, Annette Amberg, Asier Mendizábal, Yelena Popova in Dialogue (2013) and Perpetually Transient, Anahita Razmi, Basim Magdy, Florian Graf, Bernd Behr (2015).

LAURA HORELLI is a visual artist and filmmaker interested in representations and mediations of the past taking a micro-historical approach. Her work has been shown at numerous exhibitions and festivals internationally. Her films and video installations include Newstime (2019); Namibia Today (2018); Jokinen (2016); A Letter to Mother (2013); The Terrace (2011); Haukka-pala (2009); You Go Where You’re Sent (2003); Helsinki Shipyard / Port San Juan (2003). Her previous publications are Laura Horelli: interviews, Diaries,Reports (2006) and Laura Horelli: n.b.k. Ausstellungen Band 12 (2012). Horelli was born in Helsinki, grew up partly in Nairobi and London and lives in Berlin since 2001.

DOREEN MENDE, a curator, researcher, and theorist, is currently professor of Curatorial/Politics and director of the CCC Research Master and PhD Forum at the Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD). In 2015, she founded the Harun Farocki Institute in Berlin with Tom Holert and Volker Pantenburg. Her projects include Hamhŭngs Zwei Waisen (Für Konrad Püschel) (2018–2019) in the context of bauhaus imaginista in Moscow, Berlin, Bern and Istanbul; Navigation Beyond Vision (2019– 2020) with the Harun Farocki Institute and e-flux Journal at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; The Undutiful Daughter’s Concept of Archival Metabolism (2018) for e-flux Journal. Her work has also been published, among others, by Sternberg Press and in the Oxford Handbook for Communist Visual Cultures (2020). Mende is the initiator of the research project Decolonizing Socialism, Entangled Internationalism, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2019–2023). She lives in Berlin and works in Geneva.

NASHILONGWESHIPWE MUSHAANDJA is a performer, educator and writer with practice and research interests embodied in spatial archives and in movement formation. Mushaandja is also a PhD artist at the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies at the University of Cape Town studying Queer Praxis in Oudano Archives. His recent performance Dance of the Rubber Tree is a cross-disciplinary critical queer intervention in museums, theatre and archives in Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, Cameroon and Namibia. He is also involved in curative projects on public learning and culture, such as the John Muafangejo Season (2016– 2017); Operation Odalate Naiteke (2018–2020) and Owela Festival (2019).

Jane Jin Kaisen
Community of Parting

Book release and online conversation
23.02.2021

On the occasion of the release of the book Community of Parting, Archive hosted an online conversation conceived to unfold different trajectories emerging from the book. This conversation brought together Jane Jin Kaisen, curator Heidi Ballet, who contributed to the book, as well as curator Anne Kølbæk Iversen, co-editor of the publication.

A selection of films by Jane Jin Kaisen were made available in our screening-room until January 23rd. The films included: Community of Parting, Strange Meetings, and The Woman, The Orphan, and The Tiger authored with Guston Sondin-Kung.

About the book

Community of Parting is an extension and continuation of the artistic practice of Jane Jin Kaisen. Bringing past and present, the eternal and the temporal into play through layered, performative, and multi-voiced feminist works, Kaisen explores topics such as memory, war, migration, and borders in a field where individual experiences and collective stories intersect. Her works negotiate and mediate the means of representation, resistance, and reconciliation, thus forming alternative genealogies and sites of collective emergence.
The book is composed of several interwoven voices: oral testimonies with poetics by Kim Hyesoon, poetry by Mara Lee, and shamanic ritual chants by Koh Sunahn, accompanied by essay contributions by Heidi Ballet, Anselm Franke, Pujita Guha and Abhijan Toto for the Forest Curriculum, Anne Kølbæk Iversen, Jane Jin Kaisen, Hyunjin Kim, Soyi Kim, Yongwoo Lee, and conversations with Mary Kelly and Kim Seongnae.

Read more about the publication on Archive Books

 

Jane Jin Kaisen works with video installation, photography, performance, film, and text. Her practice is informed by extensive interdisciplinary research and engagement with diverse communities. She represented Korea at the 58th Venice Biennale and has shown her works at venues such as Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Arko Art Center, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Palais de Tokyo, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Times Art Center Berlin, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul Museum of Art, Kunsthal Aarhus, the Liverpool Biennial, and the Jeju Biennale.

 

Anne Kølbæk Iversen, PhD, is a researcher, curator, and writer based in Copenhagen. She obtained her PhD in 2019 from Aesthetics and Culture at Aarhus University as part of the research project The Contemporary Condition. 2019-20 she was affiliated with ARKEN Museum of Modern Art conducting the research project From a Grain of Dust to the Cosmos, studying works from ARKEN’s collection informed by discussions around the Anthropocene and notions of cosmos. Publications include “Visualising the Invisible, Imagining til (Im)possible,” in ARKEN Bulletin, vol. 8 (2020); “A Parting Ways While Being With. Critical Investigations and Acts of Assembling in Jane Jin Kaisen’s Practice,” in Jane Jin Kaisen. Community of Parting (2020) “Bodies and Rhythms,” with Sevie Tsampalla, in The Contemporary Research Intensive (2018).

Heidi Ballet is a curator based in Berlin with a research interest in the geopolitics of oceans and the psychology of climate chaos. She is currently preparing the 2021 Beaufort Triennial, a public art triennial along the Belgian coast. Exhibitions that she recently curated include the 2019 Tallinn Photomonth Biennial, the 2017 Lofoten Biennial (LIAF) and the exhibition series Our Ocean, Your Horizon at Jeu de Paume Paris and CAPC Bordeaux (2016). Between 2012 and 2015, Ballet worked as a research curator on After Year Zero, an exhibition project shown at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (2013) and the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art (2015).

Ongoing Projects in Berlin

Publishing Practices

From 2021 onward, Archive, in dialogue with other publishers, will set up a learning site for radical publishing. Based on the premise that the written word in its “published” form continues to exist within hegemonic systems of knowledge, we believe that publishing needs to be critically scrutinized with regard to its function to render visible, mediate, amplify, and disseminate — addressing such critique through the prism feminist and decolonial theories and practices. Archive is conducting a series of preparatory sessions in 2020 which bring together practitioners from different regions. These groups will contribute to a transdisciplinary and transnational exchange, posing the question of how and for which purpose national and disciplinary modes of interaction can be overcome through publishing. The acts of translation necessary for these debates will be integral subject matter of Publishing Practices.

Part of a series of preparatory sessions for the ongoing initiative Publishing Practices. Organized in concert with Atelier Picha, Lubumbashi.

A sessions in Accra in connection with CritLab organized by Foundation for Contemporary Art-Ghana. (tbc)

Part of the series of preparatory gatherings for Publishing Practices, this session connect with the project In search of archives and it’s organized in concert with Les Archives Bouanani, Rabat.

Last gathering for Publishing Practices in 2020, this session activates the feminist library run by Radio AWU and Archive in Dakar.  

Wild tongues

Wild tongues* is a recurring space for reflection and dialogue concerned with many kinds of borders – borders between nations, cultures, classes, genders, languages. This long-term research endeavor will stretch across various geographies and temporalities and will manifest itself in multiple forms. While addressing the complexities of the borderlands, of diasporic politics, physical and internal displacement, cultural dislocation and hybridity, production of Otherness, and the violence of border regimes – Wild tongues intend to establish a space to enact and rehearse forms of togetherness, radical care, and conviviality. The project draws from a genealogy of feminist writers, amongst them Gloría Anzaldúa whose work inspired the title, Cherríe Moraga, María Lugones, Chela Sandoval, Mariana Ortega, Emma Pérez. Wild Tongues will be launched in 2021.

* “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” in Gloria Anzaldùa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, 1987.

From the archive

Gaddafi in Rome

Gaddafi in Rome

14.07.2019

In June 2009 Muammar Gaddafi and Silvio Berlusconi met in Rome to celebrate the Italy-Libya Treaty on Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation and discuss the Bilateral Agreements on migration and fuel trade. As the event sparked several protests, it caused a media frenzy in Italy that brought to the fore the controversial relations between the two countries. Attempting to turn an archive of live news updates produced during the meeting into a script, this performative lecture strives to dissect the memory of this event and the way it was reported.

In Search of Archives

In Search of Archives

23-26.01.2019

In Search of Archives inquires into contemporary notions and practices of the archive in postcolonial constellations. While the state of archives in former colonial settings is continuously marked by limited access, dispersed documents and repressed histories, contemporary art and research have been opening various ways of appropriating, (re)collecting and rendering visible the diverse traces and memories, creating new meanings of the past for the present and the future.

AntiColonial Records

AntiColonial Records

24–26.10.2018

A three-day programme including working groups, film screenings, presentations and discussions revolving around the question of social justice born out of the postcolonial situation. The encounter is set up to facilitate collaborative explorations of the potential of the creative work to disrupt ingrained ideas and representations through affecting the senses and imagination.

Discreet Violence

Discreet Violence

19.12.2017

Based on private and institutional archives, including the French Service cinématographique des armées, Discreet Violence: French Camps in Colonized Algeria features certain aspects of the massive forced resettlement of civilians during the Algerian Revolution (1954–1962), and disclosures the ways with which the French colonial regime attempted to divert the military purpose of the camps in the aftermath of a medial scandal of 1959.