Towards a Manifesto of an Archive for the Eleventh Hour

Dominik Biewer Edi Danartono Ollie George Ekaterina Golovko Baldeep Kaur Luisa Kleemann Aram Lee Inana Othman Lucas Rehnman Agnieszka Roguski Shohreh Shakoory Banu Çiçek Tülü Sarnt Utamachote
View in map


[1]The following is the output of a collective writing exercise that was initiated in conversation with Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński. The itinerant, Surrealist-like process is productive of non-categorizations, non-structures, the interweaving of fragments, patterns, glitches and misunderstandings; a polyphony of threads that begin somewhere, disappear and resurface again. Colour hints toward authorship, while a scrambling of order renders out new reading of the text through each manifestation.

  1. This contribution is published as the workshop findings of “Archive for the Eleventh Hour”. The workshop was convened by Edi Danartono, Ollie George and Ekaterina Golovko and took place online from October 2021 – March 2022 as part of the Whole Life Academy Berlin. 

The movement of the archive is a movement like waves – carried by currents towards bytes of history

I do not believe in documents. I do not search for proofs. I am looking for the space in-between the shadow and light, sitting there and waiting for the Eleventh Hour.

In which direction does emancipation work? Material to immaterial or immaterial to material? Do we set the archive free when we render it immaterial? Or do we imprison the immateriality of a digital archive when we give it a physical body? 

How can we shake it all up? Maybe not all

The nightmare of the 11th hour archive is to echo the semantic web and its capitalistic implications, its affective structures and invisible codes. It’s everywhere – it has no borders, no limits – it’s ever growing and open – a whirlwind of different thoughts and ideas – an ocean, where you decide how far to go, how deep to dive. It can assume different shapes and states and does not remain in an unchangeable form, in no fixed contour. It spills over the boundaries that are continuously set and demonstrated and connects with other waters.  

Invisibility itself is a glitch, it is nether hidden nor exposed – it disrupts surfaces of visibilities that store, order and categorize things. Making things invisible means to disrupt their connectivity, their stories and narratives. Sonic Wave is a 1.9/2.0 Extreme Demon which was originally created and hacked by Cyclic in 1.9, and updated in 2.0. Prior to Cyclic’s hacking scandal, several notable names such as Riot and Wabbit attempted to be the first to complete this extremely difficult level. It was eventually verified and published by Sunix, becoming the hardest rated level in Geometry Dash to be rated. It takes me to think about the geo-spatial positioning of colonial history. Where it started or ended. I am not sure there is an end, it is complicated but not hard to figure out where it started. But, are there even borders?

The archive for, not the archive of, is in service of the threads, proximities, urgencies and divergences present amongst its group. Why so urgent? We’ve set our alarm for 11:50. Too soon?

In cities we are surrounded by sounds that shape our perceptions of public space,we inhabit the “soundscape” of the city.

The picture I brought is a space that I would like to imagine as a possible space of the archive. It is a way to create alternative connections between archival space as a space of storage and a space of the image, a real place existing in memories, words, stories and narratives. Making this space more alive and giving it the opportunity to exit from the prison of the archive.  The big toe’ traveled to catch them in box, it keeps kicking out the box to speak.

Many different embodied readings of pasts and of memories which can overlap and complement each other. How can we work together on different narratives? How can we think of the archive as an assembly? An archive which does not claims to be complete, to tell the truth, instead celebrating its incompleteness.Yes! It’s the last chance to have a good party.

Is the archive running towards something, away from it? With whom is it running and how is it moving? Maybe it doesn’t have an upright walk along a predetermined path that is easy to read and doesn’t need to be deciphered, but spreads out and branches out, sometimes slipping away or stumbling. 

Is archive always violent? Does it need to be violent? In which ways is an archive violent and how can it be imagined differently?

Art practice comes as a counterweight to our “counscious purpose”. We seek an archive which is ecological, that is, that does not exclude. An holistic archive? Let´s say the framework has to break loose from Eurocentrism. Collective work is about ego dissolution. Ego dissolution, is that what we want? Or rather building up communalities and togetherness and collaboration?

Re-doing traces of the archive is both its poison and antidote.

(yes, yes)

What is the poisonous tipping point of chaos in this group? Can we distill some chaos and turn it into an antidote? 

Unwillingly, the Archive runs. It runs without moving.  It feels uncomfortable within its temporal un-situatedness, speaking about the past, but made for the future. Inserted between things? My item, comes with its own history. It constructs the archive and lets it go, but it also situates the archive in the past and in the past only, although it has effects until the present. Invisible practices that glitch and collide.

“As you read what follows, you may notice that _________ is the first white man whose theories I’ve engaged with at length. He was also a Nazi. Why cite him and pick up his theory if my citational politics are about reproducing good relations in knowledge production? Good question. It’s not because ‘who else could I possibly cite?’ I cite _________ to demonstrate that even anti-Semitic, white supremacist, Nazi, canonized European thinkers not only are well aware of colonial land relations but also can see them with great clarity and nuance. I do this to argue against theories of change that rely on awareness as the crux of motivation for change.” – Max Liboiron, Pollution is Colonialism, Page 63, Footnote 86 (the underscores are mine. Try and guess who that is. Whoever you think of, you are probably right. This is the negative archive. Knowing whom we have to cite . Recognizing who is being cited about even with no names.)

That imagined archive does not reside in any specific environment, but remains in motion, being reciprocal and malleable, it understands itself as a constant movement, a re-reading and counter-reading that is sounding in different voices.A river which one enters never the same as before. Devenir. Latency.

To keep a ‘dream diary’ of the Archive… how is your recollection today? What is remembered today, not yesterday, less so tomorrow? Memory loss suits some. How long do we have left? Its nightmare is a rigid structure that is forced on it. A bouncer that excludes an individual. I’m sick of the archive’s door policy!!

The practice of making a collective Archive can create a coming-together of several voices from different archives and coming-to-existence of a new polyphonic body of work where the the sum of these fragments of histories and stories exceed their part of it.How responsible do you feel? Are we listening?

How do fragmented traces of memories rebuild something much bigger than what is ever archivable? Even my memory lies! The past is being created over and over again,everytime somone looks at it.

The dream of a common language. One in which different pasts locate each other and follow their own scattered tracks. Its archive is full of leaks, gaps and holes and celebrates this incompleteness. The truths’ last chance to spend a good time together.

The nightmare which haunts the Archive can be its inconsistency, the lack of an immediate structure, but this does not necessarily mean a negative thing. The official and institutional archives are usually well bordered and defined and categorized sets of informations for the purpose of future readings and sometimes generalizations and getting to conclusions. This nightmare which threatens and jeopardizes the consistency of information in the archive, can be used as a method to question and subvert the usual taxonomies and methodologies used in the creation of archives and therefore give life to a new form of coming together of memories and pasts. In a way, the fear of not making sense can be used as a strategy of a new sense making. 

Is the archive capable of keeping the dead alive? To bring them back from their graves? To connect pasts to the futures? 

And what is the spatial presentation of these archives? Is it possible to decolonize the sound archives through performance and critical research?

An ecology of a common language that is shared, that multiplies languages, with echoing voices that stutter, that flounder, speak again and against, that communicate, sometimes in chorus and between the lines, susurrous, that overlap but do not cover each others traces.      

and bodily forms of knowledge production?how do we relate to each other? What construct a collective archive? Do the humans and non humans participating need to know each other? Can we collaborate without knowing each other? what about accountability if we are nameless and bodiless?

It empowers me to imagine and conceive the archive as imaginative, material, non-material, sensual, corporeal/bodily monuments or traces of memory. 

Every archive is unarchivable. Humans long for something that they never experienced. The time of the archive becomes immortal.  But how can the archive give such an imagined memory of the time they didn’t experience? Probably the archive gives something else, it gives power and certainty to those who need it. Belinda Kazeem-Kaminski writes: “I do not want to invest in certainties. All too often, they are just dichotomies hidden in another outfit or linear HISTORY that favors white monologues. More than that, I am interested in opening up spaces for the unknown, in holding whatever it is we are confronted with when we are not busy trying to immediately verbalize and pin down what comes up”. Can we re-think archives from scratch using this approach? What would we do?

Archive of the 11th Hour is an interactive multidimensional space we share to deconstruct and transcend the limitation and violence of Archive and its materiality.

An ecology of a shared language, in which different pasts are mutually situated, following disrupted traces. The dream of a common language? 

The items did not disappear, which is a sign of hope. The antidote is our belief that we will continue meeting after the March conference. Patience and commitment will win.

The imposed materiality of the imposed knowledge system governing archives haunts Archive for the 11th Hour.

Who is allowed to record, preserve and utilize whose sounds? To what extent can dividing lines be drawn between individual music cultures? Using the words by Glissant, what about archives’ right to opacity? Shall we request that right? and how does it combine with personal identities? Can we actually bring in a personal perspective in the archives? Can individual present be archivable? Would personal emotions, voices, stories, emanations help erasing borders and categorizations? Will blurring of boundaries help to see clearer? Invisible practices that glitch and collide

‘What is there that is not poison? All things are poison and nothing is without poison. Solely the dose determines that a thing is not a poison.’ – Grandjean, ‘Paracelsus Revisited’, 126.

Listening very carefully to all the voices might has the power to enlight you in many ways. But you need to listen to a voice, already there.

The archive of eleventh floor is a coming together of many different archives, 

Invisible practices that glitch and collide formulate the archive of the 11th hour. Team glitch! Delays in voice, glitches in pixel. Not a slick surface that must be handled and protected with gloves, that remains locked, but which opens in different places, remains porous, permeable and allows different forms of access. It is not completed and does not aim to be so, it finds no ends, it uncovers interrelations instead of blurring lines. 

(I am learning to handle hazardous material)

Archive for the 11th Hour is a place of exchange between all the participants, human, non-human, sonic, visual. There are no fixed roles, we are all storytellers and we all bring something in. How can we learn together from and through collaboration?

The notion of archive always comes with certain implications of hidden histories by the former (colonial)powers. Therefore skepticism towards hegemonic (Western) archival practices is needed. 

Archive for the 11th Hour is an attempt to defeat the materiality of the archive and address it’s violence by building a space of interaction and communication, opening up pockets of safety and listening to silenced and hidden

Is it again postponed?

Sleeping archives are not responsive and cannot intervene, they dream in their sleep but do not always remember. So that nightmare could be an act of remembering that confuses its structures and finally wakes it up, so that it realizes that it should speak with many tongues, that are not yet audible, but keep it awake while haunting it. 

I am not necessarily annoyed because we can only meet online. I just need to prepare myself mentally. Concentrate on the screen, follow up with the discussion. I did it very welltill now.

Is it allowed to visit archives? Only for the archivists I heard. You need a special authorization. Isn’t it weird? Re-imagining, Reapproaching and recreating the archive through the present and the absent, the missing,the visible and unvisible, the voice and the silence, as well as its various and endless material and nonmaterial embodiments and manifestations 

I am busy thinking the representation of possibilities of spatially decolonizing the sound archives, political imaginary of re-enactments through oral history and culture, as well a narrative of alternative historical production. What can be the form of the emancipation from immaterial to material,spatial? 

How do we connect to each other’s object? How do we connect to each other? we are trying to produce a collective thing things yep the vastness of our connection or possible connections overwhelms. how do we arrange these items together`? how do we lean close enough to our screen to find the connection ?what resolution at which resident at which resolution do these threads of urgency reveal themselves? we are haunted by the resolution of our relations? what resolutions are you making this year? which resolution do you see better? 

The meaning does not belong to the archive, the meaning is us,the meaning is the key, the meaning is power.

This contribution is published in the framework of the Whole Life Academy as part of the workshop “Archive for the Eleventh Hour”.

Connected Material

A conversation on compulsive archiving in relation to a private archive of press photography on Liberia.

Schaber’s contribution revisits her 2004 work culture is our business and considers the complex issues around these three agencies. At stake in these differences are how the image’s story should be told, and how this telling is embedded in the viewing and understanding of history.

Archives are often perceived as somewhat static. They look back, they conserve, they remember. But the thinking that was present in the pieces of the Pinkus Archive all addressed ecology, extinction, and political agency in ways that not only extend into our present, but into our future.

This essay explores the plural notion of “ethnofuturisms” by employing a comparative approach. The cultural and political vicissitudes of “futurist” tropes are traced in literary and audiovisual creations that engage with the national, ethnic, and/or racial contexts of the Middle East, African diaspora, East Asia, and former Eastern Bloc.

This video interweaves the mobility of defiance against national-colonial borders and the collection of gossips by Southeast Asian migrants in Berlin.

The audio map “biography of kecak” is an attempt to decrease this discrepancy between the singularity of archival knowledge and the multiplicity of individual realiities – using the sonic as its material.

These images were taken in the frame of The Whole Life Academy. Laura Fiorio accompanied the project as a photographer from the beginning in 2019 and developed her own approach of documenting archival sites and methods.

Accumulation and multiplication of images is an accumulation of the hidden histories behind them. How do we recover these invisible histories?

This collective chain uses multiple entry points to reflect on the encounter of archival practices, objects and material with non-linear timelines.

An open-source, collaborative diary for creating archival alliances. We identify “commoning the archive” as a disobedient, decolonized, autonomous, subversive, and rogue practice. Hereby, we can approach it as a collective mnemonic practice.