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Alternative Histories, Alternative Archives

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Co-Prosperity Sphere

3219 South Morgan Street

Chicago, IL 60608

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“This material will still be here when you leave. Someone else will study it. These images will encounter other times, other faces.” — Akram Zaatari, artist, speaking about the Arab Image Foundation photography archive

The concept of “the Archive” has gained potency over recent years, particularly in the realms of art and culture. Depository of information, home for memory and data, source of inspiration and inquiry for artists and researchers — archives function in a multitude of ways across disciplines.

For more than forty years, Video Data Bank (VDB) has served as a valuable resource for alternative video art histories, and has itself evolved into an “accidental” archive. VDB is a pioneer in fostering awareness and scholarship of media art — from a renowned anthology of early video art, to feminist and queer-focused curatorial projects, and media activist collections — long advocating for this most democratic and widely distributed of art forms.

This October, VDB will host Alternative Histories, Alternative Archives, a one-day symposium centered on alternative archival content, practices, and strategies, from archivists, academics, and artists. Among the questions posed:

-What makes an archive?
-Who is the archive for?
-Is the archive neutral?
-Who controls the archive?
-Can the archive be a progressive tool?
-How can the archive survive in the current political and financial climate

We are happy to welcome Josh MacPhee of Interference Archive as our keynote speaker, as well as representatives from organizations including: Black Film Center/Archive, Chicago Film Archives, Experimental Sound Studio, Media Burn, Public Collectors, Read/Write Library, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sixty Inches From Center, South Side Home Movie Project, and artist Joshua J. Kent.

Click here for the full schedule

Click here for the full list of participants


Co-Prosperity Sphere
3219 South Morgan Street
Chicago, IL 60608

Thursday, October 5th 9.00am-5.00pm

This event has been made possible thanks to the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund

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Co-Prosperity Sphere

3219 South Morgan Street

Chicago, IL 60608

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