The present is always filled with spectres of the past, which slip in and out of view. Burdened by complex colonial and apartheid inheritances, contemporary South Africa negotiates these spectres in a highly charged manner.
The archives that impose themselves on, or lend themselves to, such negotiations are the focus of our enquiry, as are the B-sides, the archives that are unrecognised, neglected, disavowed or subaltern inheritances. In a project that is at once historical and contemporary – and that resonates in global discussions of memory, trauma, social justice, imperialism, indigenous rights, and the practices of history – we pay attention to the remixes of the record, in the past and in the present.
Hamilton's NRF Chair in Archive & Public Culture renewed
Celebrations are in order for everyone whose lives and research interests have been drawn into focus by the Archive & Public Culture initiative in recent years. After an intensive review process conducted by the National Research Foundation, Professor Carolyn Hamilton’s Chair in Archive & Public Culture has been renewed for a further five years. The special focus of this second cycle will be on sound archives.
The focus on the visual archive undertaken in the first cycle proved to be most productive, with the compilation of the information required for the report revealing some remarkable figures. In the 12 research development workshops held in between 2009–2012, close to 300 hundred papers were presented. Read more...
Screening: Bünger's Lecture on Schizophonia and The Third Man
We are delighted to announce that the Swedish artist, Erik Bünger, has kindly allowed us to show two of his video works: A Lecture on Schizophonia and the Third Man.
The ‘Lecture’ is part of the exhibition, His Master’s Voice, showing at the MedienKunstVerein in Dortmund, Germany until 7 July 2013. [See Anette Hoffmann’s report in May Gazette.] Read more...
A magical mystery tour of the Biennale behemoth
By Joanne Bloch
On 31 May, Imaginary Fact: Contemporary South African art and the archive, curated by APC associate Brenton Maart, opened at the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. In his proposal, Maart contextualised the proposed archival focus in terms of recent global trends, and outlined his understanding of how artists working with the archive, after making use of a more scientific selection and categorisation process, ‘... [mediate]... between the didactic, analytical trope on the one hand, and the poetic aesthetic on the other. In this way, their contemporary practice reveals hidden, or creates new, impact.’ Read more...
In search of Balobedu, a research trip to the Evangelisches Landeskirchliches Archiv in Berlin
By George Mahashe
In 1881 a missionary named Rev Fritz Reuter set up shop in Bolobedu, in the north-eastern part of the Boer republic, Transvaal (now North Eastern Limpopo, South Africa). Reuter had been invited to Bolobedu through one of Rain-queen Modjadji’s nobles, Kgashane Mamatlepa (jr). Read more...
Building a partnership with the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv
Last month, APC researcher Anette Hoffmann visited the Phonogramm-Archiv in Berlin for initial talks to establish a partnership between the Archive and the Five Hundred Years Archive project.
The Phonogramm-Archiv holds around 16 000 wax cylinders from all over the world, recorded in the first half of the 20th century. Around a third of this collection is comprised of recordings from Africa. For several years now, the archive has been digitizing these recordings, which makes them available for research abroad. Read more...
Moi University conference reviews Kenyan literature since Independence
By Dishon Kweya
Last month, I travelled to Eldoret, Kenya to attend a conference hosted by the Department of Literature, Theatre and Film Studies at Moi University. The theme of the conference was Literature and the Production of Knowledge in Kenya, 1963 – 2013. Read more...
Ethnohistory conference in Chile calls for papers
The History Department, the Centre of Cultural Latin American Studies (Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities) and the Anthropology Department (Faculty of Social Science) at Universidad de Chile are organising the First Conference of Ethnohistory, Indigenous History and Historical Anthropology: Constructing interdisciplinary knowledge about the history of native peoples.
The conference will comprise a variety of symposia. APC research fellow María Rock is coordinating the symposium ‘De-construction of the document: Analysis method – the oral’. This symposium will be dedicated to analysing the different available modes for writing history and exploring different methodologies and points of view to recognise the fundamental role of the oral in shaping indigenous cultures’ making of their own history. The idea is to review historiography and current approaches to indigenous history in Chile. Read more...
Maaba completes PhD exploring liberation archives at Fort Hare
By Chris Saunders
Congratulations to Brown Bavusile Maaba on successfully completing his PhD thesis on The History and Politics of Liberation Archives at Fort Hare, supervised by Carolyn Hamilton and I. Maaba graduated on 7 June. In his report on the thesis the eminent Africanist Professor Robert Edgar wrote of ‘a pioneering dissertation which opens up critical questions on the internal and external politics of archives and how their policies are formulated’. Read more...