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Archive of One’s Own

DATES

6 & 7 March 2024
13 & 14 March 2024

TIME

8.00pm—9.30pm (SGT)
5.30pm—7.00pm (IST)
12.00pm—1.30pm (GMT)
4.00am—6.30am (PST)

VENUE

Online, via Zoom

ADMISSION

Free, by registration only
↘ Register Here

 

About

Curated by Sean Cham, Archive of One’s Own examines the works of photo and moving image artists who challenge, contemplate, interrogate, re-imagine, re-purpose the colonial archive in their own works. The colonial archives are records — both textual and visual — that have reduced lived lives to numbers, fragments, and shorthands; they are remnants of an imperial past that continues to shape experiences and lives today. The camera is a colonial tool that is violent and oppressive. How do artists engage with such material to contribute to a more nuanced reading of history? How do such contemporary works make visible and present the previously invisible and silenced colonised people, stories, and voices?

The programme, consisting of a series of artist talks and critical responses, hopes to generate new knowledge on potential histories found in the colonial archives — not what is recorded in the archives, but rather what is absent, silenced, and invisible. This research will build on the work of scholars who have examined the photographic colonial archives, for instance most recently by Aïsha Azoulay who writes about the ‘potential histories’ that can be found in such archives. This involves artists invoking personal experiences, emotions, imagination, and inventiveness in their works to critically fabulate what is beyond the visible image or text. Through a cross-comparison of different approaches used by photo and moving image artists from different countries, heritage, and personal connection to Empires, we can begin to imagine an anti-colonial and decolonial approach to history and visual culture.

Archives of One's Own is presented as part of the DECK Associate Creative Programme.

Online Programme Overview

Archive as Material
Artist Talk — Abednego Trianto and Sajan Mani
6 March 2024, Wednesday, 8.00pm SGT

Critical Responses
(Respondents Freya Schwachenwald and Sim Chi Yin)
7 March 2024, Thursday, 8.00pm SGT

Archive as Institution
Artist Talk — Nydia Swaby and Stephanie Syjuco
13 March 2024, Wednesday, 8.00pm SGT

Critical Responses
(Respondent Nurul Huda Rashid and Rio Creech-Nowagiel)
14 March 2024, Thursday, 8.00pm SGT

Archive as Material

Artist Talk—Abednego Trianto and Sajan Mani

6 March 2024, Wednesday, 8.00pm SGT

The works of the two artists, Abednego Trianto and Sajan Mani, appropriate the colonial archives through acts of cutting, erasing, extracting, juxtaposing, re-contextualising, painting over, and layering. These colonial archives have been created by individuals previously stationed in the colonies, and have now been deposited and distributed in various archives across the world. What do we do with these objects and material that have been passed down to us? How do we speak to our ancestors who have been trapped in these images and documents?

 

Critical Responses—Freya Schwachenwald and Sim Chi Yin

7 March 2024, Thursday, 8.00pm SGT

Each critical response session reflects on the themes and issues raised in the previous day’s artist presentations/conversations. The respondents will situate the artists’ works in ongoing and historical scholarship, debates, and discourses. Their reflections will provide a lens to engage with the artists’ works and with colonial archives more broadly.

Archive as Institution

Artist Talk—Nydia A. Swaby and Stephanie Syjuco

13 March 2024, Wednesday, 8.00pm SGT

The works of the two artists, Nydia A. Swaby and Stephanie Syjuco, critically engage with the institution of the archive, using their bodies, voice, songs, dance, shadows, to dismantle and disrupt the archive’s authority. The archive is not just the material objects themselves, but also the spaces in which these images and documents are stored. What is the logic of the archive, and does that continue to replicate colonial violence? How do we interact and behave in this space, as a site of stories, emotions, and violence that have been stored away in folders and boxes?

(Please note that this session will be an asynchronous video of the artists in conversation with a live audience Q&A session with artist Nydia. A Swaby & curator Sean Cham at the end of the playback)

 

Critical Responses—Nurul Huda Rashid and Rio Creech-Nowagiel

14 March 2024, Thursday, 8.00pm SGT

Each critical response session reflects on the themes and issues raised in the previous day’s artist presentations/conversations. The respondents will situate the artists’ works in ongoing and historical scholarship, debates, and discourses. Their reflections will provide a lens to engage with the artists’ works and with colonial archives more broadly.

Browse Works

  • Sugar Lord Java

    Sugar Lord Java

    Abednego Trianto

  • Stretched light and muted howls

    Stretched light and muted howls

    Sajan Mani

  • daughter(s) of diaspora

    daughter(s) of diaspora

    Nydia A. Swaby

  • Block Out the Sun (Shadow)

    Block Out the Sun (Shadow)

    Stephanie Syjuco

Featuring

Abednego Trianto

Abednego Trianto

Artist

Abednego Trianto is Indonesian artist, born in 1988 in Semarang, Central Java. He explores the narratives of Indonesian history in relation to photographic archives. He has exhibited in the Noorderlicht Photography Festival, Chobi Mela Photography Festival, Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Deck Singapore, International Orange Photography Festival, The Center for Fine Art Photography, Bangkok University Gallery among other festivals and museum. Graduated from the School of Photography and Digital Imaging, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the artist is also a practicing architect in Indonesia.
Sajan Mani

Sajan Mani

Artist & Curator

Sajan Mani is an Interdisciplinary artist and curator hailing from a family of rubber tappers in a remote village in the northern part of Keralam, South India. His work voices the issues of marginalized and oppressed peoples of India, via the “Black Dalit body” of the artist.

Sajan was the first Indian to be awarded the Berlin Art Prize in 2021. He has participated in international biennales, festivals, exhibitions and residencies, including The INHABIT, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, DE (2022), Galerie Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, CA (2021-22) Lokame Tharavadu Kochi Biennale Foundation, IN (2021), Times Art Center Berlin, DE (2021) Nome Gallery, Berlin (2021) CODA Oslo International Dance Festival, No (2019); Ord & Bild, SE (2019); India Art Fair (2019); “Specters of Communism”, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2017); Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2016); Kampala Art Biennale, Uganda (2016); Kolkata International Performance Arts Festival (2014–16); and Vancouver Biennale, CA (2014). In 2022 he was awarded the Prince Claus Mentorship Award and Breakthrough Artist of The Year from Hello India Art Awards. Between 2019 – 2022 he received an artistic research grant from the Berlin Senate, Fine Arts Scholarship from Braunschweig Projects, and the Akademie Schloss Solitude Fellowship, Germany.

(Photo Credits: Sebastian Moske)
Nydia A. Swaby

Nydia A. Swaby

Researcher, Writer, and Curator

Nydia A. Swaby is a black feminist researcher, writer, and curator. Her practice engages archives, auto/ethnography, photography, the moving image, and the imagination to curate programmes and visual narratives, write research and performance texts that explore the gendered, diasporic, and affective dimensions of black being and becoming. Nydia is an editor of Feminist Review and co-edited an issue on Archives (July 2020). She is a curator at the ICA, where she leads in the delivery of the talks and research programme. Nydia was the inaugural Caird Research Fellow at UCL's Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery and Royal Museums Greenwich, where she developed creative and curatorial projects based on her research in the museum’s collection. She is currently writing a speculative biography about pan-African feminist Amy Ashwood Garvey that uses her archive, life, and activism to ask broader questions about the futurity of Black feminist archives and archival research (Lawrence Wishart 2024).
Stephanie Syjuco

Stephanie Syjuco

Artist & Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley

Stephanie Syjuco works in photography, sculpture, and installation, moving from handmade and craft-inspired mediums to digital editing and archive excavations. Her projects leverage open-source systems, shareware logic, and flows of capital, in order to investigate issues of economies and empire. Recently, she has focused on how photography and image-based processes are implicated in the construction of racialized, exclusionary narratives of American history and citizenship. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship Award, a 2020 Tiffany Foundation Award, and a 2009 Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award. She was a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow at the National Museum of American History in Washington DC in 2019-20 and is featured in the acclaimed PBS documentary series Art21: Art in the Twenty-First Century.

Born in the Philippines in 1974, Syjuco received her MFA from Stanford University and BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been exhibited widely, including at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Walker Art Center, The 12th Havana Bienal, and The 2015 Asian Art Biennial (Taiwan), among others. A long-time educator, she is an Associate Professor in Sculpture at the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Oakland, California.
Freya Schwachenwald

Freya Schwachenwald

Researcher

Freya Schwachenwald is a PhD candidate at Technical University Berlin (Germany). Her dissertation investigates narratives of 19th-century travel, ‘exploration’ and art, and the hauntings of imperialism in German history and museums. In 2023, she was Research Fellow at the National Museum Singapore, conducting a research project on early photography and transcultural entanglements of colonialism in Singapore and Southeast Asia. In 2024, she will conclude her dissertation as Visiting Student Researcher at Stanford University, USA. Her writings have been published, among others, in the Journal of Transcultural Studies and the Global Histories Student Journal.
Sim Chi Yin

Sim Chi Yin

Artist

Sim Chi Yin is an artist from Singapore whose research-based practice involves photography, moving image, archival interventions, book-making and performance, and focuses on history, memory, conflict and extraction.

She was an artist fellow in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program (2022-3) and is completing a PhD at King’s College London. Her work uses artistic and archival interventions to contest and complicate historiographies and colonial narratives. Her work has been presented at the Gropius Bau, Berlin (2023); the Barbican, London (2023); Harvard Art Museums, Boston, USA (2021); Les Rencontres d’Arles, France (2021); Nobel Peace Museum, Oslo (2017), Arko Art Centre, Seoul (2016); Zilberman Gallery Berlin (2021); Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong (2019). She has also participated in the Istanbul Biennale (2022, 2017) and the Guangzhou Image Triennial ( 2021). Sim was commissioned as the Nobel Peace Prize photographer in 2017, nominated for the Vera List Center’s Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice in 2020. Her work is in the collections of Harvard Art Museums, The J. Paul Getty Museum, M+ Hong Kong, Singapore Art Museum, and the National Museum Singapore. Sim is represented by Zilberman Gallery in Berlin and Hanart TZ Gallery in Hong Kong.

(Photo Credits: Joel Low)
Nurul Huda Rashid

Nurul Huda Rashid

Researcher-Artist

Nurul Huda Rashid is a researcher-writer currently completing a PhD in Cultural Studies. Her dissertation examines the role of algorithms in the circulation of Muslim women images. It is a continuation of her visual arts practice which unpacks the image in photographic works such as Hijab/Her (2012-2014), in writing and activist work with local groups and communities, and in lecture-performances such as Women in War (2016-2019) and Nodes (2022). Bridging perspectives from visual and archival methods alongside feminists and decolonial theories, Nurul develops and facilitates art and photography workshops, focusing on issues of care in image-making and annotation as pedagogy.
Rio Creech-Nowagiel

Rio Creech-Nowagiel

Researcher, Curator, and Writer

Rio (they/he/she) is the fourth year of an AHRC-funded PhD studentship with Imperial War Museums and the department of Journalism, Media & Culture at Cardiff University. Their PhD project uses photographs to explore the visual histories and cultural legacies of colonial war in Britain, focusing on the so-called ‘Malayan Emergency’ (a 12-year independence war that broke out in 1948 in the region known now as Malaysia and Singapore). Alongside their PhD, works as a freelance curator and cultural producer. In April 2022, they led a co-created photography exhibition at The Curve Gallery in Slough exploring the lives & legacies of Polish refugees resettled in Britain after the Second World War.  
Sean Cham

Sean Cham

Researcher & Artist

Sean Cham 曾繁杨 (he/him) is a researcher and artist who engages in questions of histories, memories, and the consumption and production of both.

He is pursuing a PhD in History of Art, on a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership between London’s National Gallery and Birkbeck, University of London. His doctoral work is interested in museum studies, gaps in the archives, and colonial legacies. He has also worked on projects surrounding heritage studies, conservation, and social history.

In his artistic practice, he works at the intersections of photography, performance, and installation. His interdisciplinary and critical practice is concerned with histories and built environments; particularly considering ideas around authorship, contestation, gaps, and migration. Cham’s works were exhibited in Ethiopia, Germany, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, and Sweden. His works had been commissioned by M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, The Future of Our Pasts Festival, and NUS Centre For the Arts.