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Thinking About Archives

This collection of videos presents archivists, artists, scholars, curators and more discussing various types of archival materials and archiving methods. Questions are raised such as, how does the physicality of an archival object inform the reading of its content and provide further context? How are archival collections organized at the personal and professional level? How do we decide what to preserve? What is the importance of curatorial activism and collecting subcultures? These archive-involved experts discuss preservation and conservation challenges and new possibilities in the digital age, historical revisionism, and taking a documentary approach rather than one of connoisseurship. Lastly, they grapple with notions of truth, accuracy, and reconstruction in regards to cultural transmission from one period to another.

Fluxus: A conversation With Ben Kinmont

Artist Ben Kinmont, whose exhibition “Prospectus New York” had opened the previous night at Fales, is interviewed by Julia Robinson, curator of “Fluxus at NYU: Before and Beyond.” Ben Kinmont is an artist, publisher, and antiquarian bookseller. His work often blurs the boundaries between artistic production, publishing, and curatorial practice. Concerned with the value structures surrounding art practice and what happens when that practice is displaced into non-art space, Ben has explored how archives decomodify and revalue objects/works of art.

The two discuss developing a practice that explores the boundary between the art world and spaces outside of it, where artists may not be welcome, without being destructive. They talk about Ben’s preference to work at a small scale to prevent his work from becoming a spectacle, and also to ensure trust and communication between him and his co-authoring participant audience. Lastly, they discuss Ben’s upbringing in San Francisco by an artist father and how being surrounded by artists helped him develop an art historical revisionist attitude, an interest in what was being included and not included in the history he was experiencing.