The first stream of contributions to our editorial line is dedicated to the topic of ‘archives’.

Besides this being a matter that we undeniably have to deal with as a new publishing platform ourselves - aiming to build a functioning archive and considering how to interact with it responsibly - we feel that ‘archives’ are a subject worth discussing in the context of recent online culture.

We want to juxtapose various forms of present-day archives that eventually transcend the historical and often mainly institutional connotation surrounding this already excessively discussed topic.

We float in a sea of sleek exhibition views and constant self-representation, being confronted with ‘instant-archives’1 of information every day on our computers and phones.

Being exposed to a vast amount of art online and having the chance to research a wide selection of art history as well as contemporary expressions at any given moment, made us rethink the stance of the archive in our current condition.

In the face of extremely accelerated user behaviour and the sheer amount of information that many of us consume every second of our smartphone infused lives - „the hypothesis is that boundaries between theory and practice seem to blur in a contemporary condition, and curatorial projects can help reorganize the canon of current academic disciplines and contemporary art.“ 2

When agreeing on this thought concept of re-organization (and its documentation online), curatorial practices turn into an extension of already given archival structures.

If we treat the practice of curating archives as a fluid and permeable act, we will recognize that we all hold the power to shape and redefine knowledge.

The things that get archived are considered worth saving to preserve culture in our society. Archives constitute history. However, especially institutionalized archives repeatedly require proof of certain knowledge, previous education and qualification of the accessing person or community. Looking at the tiny amount of people who have access to the world’s most important and rich archives, it quickly becomes obvious that expertise in our society, apparently, can and should not be shared with everyone. Besides this often being a rather logical, rational and even practical decision, it creates an elitist selection dividing curious people into pools defined by different backgrounds and privilege.
This leads us to ask: How to make resources accessible?

Especially within the field of the arts, open-source projects have been considered a possible answer to this problem. Are those alternative programs sustainable for their authors in times of a hyper-capitalist market? How can we contribute to a continual and functioning pool of research material and capital? Until what point and with whom are we willing to share our knowledge, work and effort?

With the act of archiving information and thoughts, comes great responsibility. It is necessary to address and further investigate the topic of archiving and its processes.

We need to establish mechanisms to grasp knowledge moving within different media and people in order to cultivate an archive. We should try to delay these ‘instant-archiving processes’ threatening possible contemplative moments in contemporary art.

We hope that the following contributions can serve as an impulse for you to further investigate different forms of archives: historical archives, alternative archives, self-made archives, woke archives etc...

  1. The term instant-archives is meant to stress the fact that in times of hyper-acceleration almost any form of information turns into archive material the second it has been published. 

  2. Olga von Schubert, 100 Years of Now and the temporality of curatorial research