The inventory table in the Blackmagic Design Media Preservation Lab - Credit - Shannon McGrath.jpg
Inside the Blackmagic Design Media Preservation Lab at ACMI (image credit: Shannon McGrath)
Stories & Ideas

Tue 14 Feb 2023

A Changing World: Archival machine politics

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Your museum of screen culture

Digitisation has opened up archives and archival practices to new scrutiny at the same time as machine learning and artificial intelligence has created new means for navigating and repurposing their contents.

Nigerian-American artist Mimi Ọnụọha and Wiradjuri artist Joel Sherwood Spring, both working with archival absences, representation and the materiality of digital technologies join a conversation with artist and researcher Dr Sarah Barns.

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This transcript was machine-generated and published for search and accessibility purposes. It may contain errors.

All right. Y'all can hear me? Are y'all awake? Good. You know, after lunch is a hard, hard slot. We all know it. Everybody's tired. Stay awake. I can see you. Let's do it. Okay. Hi, my name is Mimi Onouha. I am going to talk about two projects that I think are in line with the theme of this panel. One of them is a bit older. One of them is a bit newer. But I think that they kind of engage with this idea of archives and machine politics in kind of interesting ways. So to begin with, my work is about things that are difficult to count and collect. So in a way, it's kind of about the unarchivable. It's about things that are hard to fit into archive spaces and everything that sort of leaks out. And that's what I'm very interested in. And particularly what these things tell us about the system underlying them in the first place. And I think I have this project that I think really exemplifies that, which is this. It's called the Library of Missing Datasets. And this is a project from a piece from 2016. What this is, is it is an installation and an ongoing repository of data that doesn't exist. What I call missing data sets. These blank spots that exist in otherwise very data saturated places. You'll have a field where people are collecting lots and lots of information. And then you will see that there is this gap where maybe there's nothing really there. And this can be all types of things. For example, I'm working a lot in the US, so one example of missing data set is just gun trace data. Data that allows you to trace where a gun's sold, bought, et cetera. Information about cash. Cash in US dollars that's outside of the US's borders. That's a missing data set. For a long time, civilians killed by the police was a missing data set. It's not anymore. But that was one as well. And so in this project, what I'm doing is I'm gathering all of these things that are not being collected. I'm putting them together into this physical installation format. So I show this. And I usually show this. I show this all over the world. Wherever I show it, I change the data sets that are in this. It's a filing cabinet that has these folders. Each one is titled with a missing data set. And I change whatever's in it so that it really matches wherever it's being shown. I do that because I want it to speak to whatever the context is. So if I were showing this piece here, it would be information about Australia, maybe even just about Melbourne. But every time I show it, I show it in this same kind of format, this installation, which is this filing cabinet. And I've had conversations with loads of folks in the past who have said things like, oh, why don't you do something, I don't know, make it more, make it snazzier, make it more, I don't know, put it on the blockchain, whatever. I'm like, y'all are missing the point. The point is that this is really talking about the way that structural erasure has this kind of bureaucratic banality to it. And so the piece is meant to speak to that reality. And also, I love to show it when people can touch it. I love work that has this kind of experiential thing. I'm trying to get out of just the visual, I'm trying to get out of just one mode, one mode of considering the world. I'm just trying to really bring in more modalities. I love when people can actually lift it and can try to open the folders, then they see there's nothing in it. They're like, oh yeah, that's because it's missing. Makes sense. And then I won't go too much into this except to say that actually this is a series of pieces. I work in a way that is very much about iteration. I think there's something about iteration that is also in some way anti-archival. It's hard to know what is the form, what is the actual form of this. There is none. It's always changing. And so there are actually two other editions in this series. I shouldn't say edition. There are the two other pieces in this series, the Library of Missing Datasets version two and the Library of Missing Datasets version three. I won't say much more about them. They're a bit different. If you want to know, I'm doing a talk on Thursday. You should come to that. And then I want to talk about a second piece. This is a piece that's a bit more recent. And this piece is coming from a different perspective. And I've been spending a lot of time recently working with archival media, archival footage. And the reason for that is because I find that there is something about archival media and footage that carries the myths of the time in which it was created. And looking back on it from now, or looking at it from this point in time, you begin to be able to see those. So it's almost like you can see when you're in the moment, it's hard to know what the myths that create the foundation of the world that you walk on actually are. But when you have that distance, you get to see that. So again, there's this thing of a lot of my practice has to do with absence in many ways. And so here it's like, okay, using this time, we begin to be able to see those myths that we find difficult to make sense of and to hold, find tangible. We get a way to see those. And the piece that I want to talk about, I have to have a little quote to kind of set the frame for it, set the stage. This is a quote from the 1970s from John Hannah, who is director of the US Agency for International Development. And he sums up in this quote the feelings of many people in the US, but also in many other parts of the world, thinking about food production when he says this thing that at the present population growth rates was going to be necessary for the US to have to, well, for the world to have to double its food production by the end of the century. And this was just to maintain the present levels of diet, which he says are also inadequate. And I use this quote to really stand in for the fact that this kind of explains the US's policy and ways of thinking about food from really post-World War II, 50s up until the 80s, but still continuing today. And to set the stage for the fact of actually this huge, big, technologically driven, industrial, big agriculture machine. That's a lot of words, but it's all of that. And so this really, that quote of his sets the stage for really this moment where food production changes to become this huge industry. And the clips that you're seeing, these are clips from a piece that I've made, where I was working, I told you, I've been working with archival footage, scraped this from the US Department, I didn't scrape it, I gathered it from the US Department of Agriculture and programmatically did a lot of things to it to be able to put it together into this form. And what is interesting, what I love about this footage is that it really shows this thing about what is new versus what is old. And what was new were some of the ways that this work was being framed and also the technology that was being used at the time. And what was old were the systems of labor relations that were really kind of under, underlying it. And so I put all of these things together into this piece, which is in some ways an interactive video piece and also that's kind of straight video piece. I told you, I make work that is always multiple things at once. My gallery hates it. And we will see, you're going to see it soon. I'm going to play just a clip of it. And you'll see that there are all these clips of this archival footage from this time, be right next to each other. And then over it is this baseline. And I like this repetition. I like having this kind of repeating baseline because I think it gets you in the space of really the place where these myths, where they lie, it's something internalized. It's in your body. It's not just abstracted in your head. And I think it really gets you there. But what you're also going to hear is just a quick clip in the piece. There are all these, those myths of the day. You can hear people actually saying them out loud. And so you'll hear one, I think it's about making potatoes easier to peel or something. You'll see. Scientists working to improve plant quality through breeding have given potatoes shallow eyes so they're easier to eat. So this goes on much, much longer. I've shown you the bearish clip if you want more. Come to my talk on Thursday. The title of this piece is 40% of Food in the US is Wasted, How the Hell is that Progress Man? And this was shown at the Whitney in the US as part of the Digital Art Port program. And this, I really want to focus right now on that title, 40% of Food in the US is Wasted, because that's a current statistic from the same department, the US Department of Agriculture, where all of the clips come from, where a lot of the quotes and where a lot of the information behind this piece, where it comes from. And the reason I bring this up is because, as I said, I like using this archival footage for what it shows us about what is hard to see. That quote that I had shown you earlier was someone talking about this need to double food production by the end of the century. Here we are at this point. Almost half the food that's produced is wasted. So there is this question of this myth at the center, which for this piece is really just about that idea that actually, if we want to feed people, it's not just about productions, it's about distribution of food. And you can see, that's kind of to highlight this. This is from HDI Global, a company based in Melbourne. And you can see the same idea still being repeated. This is still present now. Okay. So I'm going to leave it at those two pieces. And I leave with this because I think in a lot of my work, I told you I like to deal with absence. I like to deal with what's missing. The reason I do that is because I think that when you focus on what isn't there, it allows you to be able to understand the structure more. You begin to be able to see things more for what they are. And I think this is what I'm trying to do in my practice. This is sense making work so that hopefully can then remake sense of the world. Okay. Thank you. Thank you. I'm Joel Sherwood-Spring. Thank you for that. That was really incredible. I'm not as eloquent and I have to read from my phone a little bit. Because I wanted to prepare to say some stuff. But just off the top of that, I feel like there's a lot of similarities in some of the projects you just spoke about in the next project that I'm going to talk through. So yeah. First, I wish to frame my practice and probably the two projects that I've prepared to show to you within a larger framework where I'm trying to negotiate and I'm learning about how to use exhibition making and exhibition practices. So art making in a larger field of what is recognized internationally as maybe known as black and indigenous studies. And with a very particular interest from my research, which is directed towards the ways in which indigenous sovereignty intersects, interacts and disturb our normative or normalized naturalized ways of engaging with architecture. That can be formally architecture in terms of buildings, building buildings and cities. But also larger networked architectures that span the globe, so thinking about storage infrastructures and information machines and the things that we're here to talk about now. So thinking about the archival machine as one of those architectures. So I'm Wiradjuri with connections to you and a lot of my work is coming from that context, coming from a specific Southeast context, sort of the nations that kind of sit within what is now known as New South Wales and Victoria. But that's the whole Murray-Darling River system and kind of all the connected waterways to that land. So I'm kind of very interested in the ways that particular histories from these places can be talked about because it's where most Aboriginal people live in this country. It's also where most non-Aboriginal people live. But when we think about, and this is an archival question, right? When we think about those cultures that come from these places, they're not as present in certain types of political discourse in the present day, but also in indigenous histories that we talk about historically in this country. But there's a huge amount of wealth of knowledge from both indigenous and non-indigenous interaction that come from these places. I don't always like to think about it in these ways, but it's like if we think about the Southeast, it's the site of one of the oldest man-made structures. Some of the oldest ceremonial objects in the world come from this place. The earliest burial of the earliest ceremonial burial ever recorded by Western anthropology. So there's really so much history that kind of come from this context. And I guess in a sense, we can talk about personally as well, my practice kind of deals with lots of different ways that we might talk about absence in relationship to these conversations, particularly within my own relationship to absence of language, absence of family, absence of culture, historically for indigenous people through colonization, but also the more glaring absences like the absences of these objects in particular collections, these narratives in particular collections, and we'll kind of go further into that. So the first project I want to talk through is one called Sandy Island. It's commissioned through BLEED in 2022, you know, in 2020 through Arts House and Camel Town Art Center. And it's a story of an island that was undiscovered. So in 1774, Captain James Cook, RIP, he died this day in Hawaii. Like Captain James Cook charted an island located between what is now known as Kanaka or New Caledonia and the Queensland coast, using it as a navigational object to course his sort of voyage or a legal passage through the Pacific to a place now known as Australia. And the island was drawn and redrawn in maps and reproduced in digital charts until 2014 when it was officially undiscovered. Within the work, I got to speak to the marine geologist, Dr. Maria Seton, who herself and her team were kind of responsible for this undiscovery while they were researching kind of the seismic formations and activities at the ocean floor in that area and sort of indirectly mapping manganese nodules for further extraction into the future. And they came across a discrepancy in between the charts that they were using and the charts that the navigational staff or the captain of the boat was using. And so they decided to have a look to see what was happening. But I think what's interesting about this for me is it talks about the ways in which information in this banality of its bureaucracy can transform and translate from a piece of paper on a boat through the means of sort of reproduction and preservation into a data set on the surface that kind of maps the surface of the globe for most kind of commercial and non-commercial boats. And sort of in a sense takes this lie, right, because it's not there, and turns it into reality in terms of its present on the data set. Like it has topography. It had an identity in terms of its presence and was sort of used as a navigational beacon for a very long time. And so I'm sort of interested in the ways that kind of archival practices kind of have and continue to uphold perspectives, right, and particular things that are the myths of the time that then can sort of crystallize or kind of formulate into truth, right, and into certain ideas. And to think about the power of what could be implied by the idea of something like undiscovering something is kind of interesting because it puts the accountability back on the data set as opposed to maybe in the kind of language where I'm educated and where I continue to educate within the sort of kind of liberal frame of the university, where there's a lot of pretense placed on unlearning, right? There's a lot of like subjective work that we need to do as a population about things. But it's the systems that uphold a lot of this stuff. And so what is interesting about the implications of undiscovery when it could change or have knock-on effects across a set of documents or a set of information systems? So I will kind of like take from that, you know, there's something sort of interesting about this for me because it sort of thinks about how these digitized assemblages kind of can become these 3D points on a map of a globe. But it also tells a story of like how these observations and assumptions kind of believe to be facts. I'm kind of repeating myself now. But it's told to us, right, through telecommunications infrastructure that is overlaid directly onto colonial pathways, right? The most well-charted parts of the Pacific Ocean are the ones charted by James Cook, right? They are now where our telecommunications infrastructure pipelines are kind of laid and maintained, which makes sense, right? It's like white people or colonial powers have been charting these parts of the ocean for a very long time. So what's the implication of like our information systems carrying out these same passages? The piece of telecommunications wiring that comes in at Sydney at Clevelly is called The Endeavour, which is the boat name, which was Captain Cook's boat when he first arrived on the shores of Kermay in Australia. And so there's sort of like these traces that kind of linger not only through these kind of transformations and redistributions of this information, but like literally in the material, like literally the stuff gets sort of like continues to carry these conversations. I'm going to move on to another work, which is the work that is here at the moment, which is called Digger Mode, is a commission as a part of the exhibition called How I See It, created by Kate Tamburin. And it's a two channel video work that I made that sort of started as a project from a question about like how should museums kind of handle the presence of digital platforms that surround them? It talks a lot about, I mean, today we sort of use this phrase, like we use such phrases like information economy without thinking too much, because we take for granted that the relationship between information and the economy is a natural one. But that relationship had to be constructed at a moment when kind of political economy was becoming a thing. So it led me into researching a very particular site, which was the Museum of Economic Geology, which was built in 1835 in London, which kind of through its exhibitions and through its structure and its lectures, kind of like what we're doing today, created a very particular way of representing the mineral deposits within the colony or the colonies. But also it created a sort of object image complex through which people moved through stratigraphy of earth, placing particular people at the top and other people in other places and kind of educating people within London about the sort of types of political economy and the types of labour necessary to make money in the colonies with particular relationships to mineral deposits and sort of with the kind of discovery of gold in or on Wiradjuri country in the 1840s, 1850s, lectures were given at the Museum of Economic Geology, kind of spreading this information and sort of that's where this idea of the sort of sectional relationship or this kind of process of digging, right, as a sort of experience in a museum manifests, I also think, in a very particular type of political economy that was established and put into play during that colonial era. And that's probably where, and so here's like a document, and if you want to read this, I can also just kind of go on to explain, but I guess at the heart of it is the question or the kind of conversation of like, we live in a world brought to us by mining, right? How does mineral extraction and mining structure the way that we view the world? And where does that history come from? And I feel like it's much older than we think. And I think that these sorts of relationships to extraction play out within archival systems to this day. And so the work kind of starts from a conversation looking at these histories of extraction and the sort of modes of thinking and the economy around it, and pushes into questions that I had directly with ACME's digital and kind of preservation teams. So talking to them about the sorts of things and processes that they are employing to digitise, give access, but also like maintain and preserve materials that they hold onto, which brings in another question about materiality. At this point in time, particularly at ACME, but I think that this is felt across multiple institutions across the globe, there's like this temporality of material coming up. There's an urgency to digitise materials as they degrade. And that adoption to that urgency of the material reality of the objects creates huge amounts of data and huge amounts of storage necessitates a huge amount of storage. And that urgency plays into the hands of the global infrastructures that exist to this day. Like the digitising of the archive, the digitising of the museum and the movement across real life experience onto a digital scape plays into the profit motives of the platform. And to think about how is an archive, how is a digital infrastructure or potentially how are AIs, algorithms implicated in the sites that they are extracted from? And kind of to put it more plainly, I was really interested in thinking through the lens of my own background, but the lens of other kind of more indigenous materialist readings of this stuff and to think how could we think about our relationality to country, the material stuff of the place that we're at and its extraction? How does an AI built with silicon extracted from a beach on a Wabakal country think about itself? If we could call that intelligence, how does it identify? How does an infrastructure system run off of lithium batteries extracted from Nungabuja feel or what is implicated in these material flows that create the kind of systems that we're all eagerly or I feel like institutionally are very eager to run into? And that these are kind of ideological questions where particular forms of extraction are seen as benign or more progressive because they may represent a decarbonized body that we all live, you know, like a trajectory over into lithium feels like a step in the right direction, but it still means the extraction and destruction of a particular body, right? And that is the body of country depending on where you're taking it from. And sort of trying to interrogate this, I was really kind of personally not interested in trying to deliver a concise narrative and maybe you can hear that in the way that this kind of conversations kind of come out for me, but sort of the works are two channel work and it tries to establish this discussion in its kind of density and its plurality through a sort of over-representation, or not over-representation, but a sort of holding of as many narratives and as many relations as possible on the two screens as it can kind of format itself. I don't have that here apart from the slides I showed before, but maybe I'll just play this sort of like the vibe here and you can go and check it out afterwards. Thank you. All right. Thank you. It's great to be on this panel with you both. I love the way we've been brought together, working across I guess disruptive modes of archival practices and kind of re-situating them within broader political conversations. Yeah, there I am. So I guess I've been working with archival collections probably for about 15 years, essentially kind of from the framework of re-situating them in the field and in that context kind of being in the field, being in place, situating myself in a kind of experiential kind of immersive framework. A lot of my early work was actually working with emerging kind of mobile media contexts, which then has evolved to different kinds of experiential contexts for encountering archives as they can be re-situated in place. Let's see if that works. So I like this concept of remediation. I'm trying not to use the word digital. I think I'm doing pretty good. So remediation for me is part of that so-called practice. So using logics of being spatially situated, engaging with what the data politics of being spatially situated is. For me that's often around a kind of attempt to completely kind of make a new form of spatial experience through a new technology, which I guess for my own kind of historical practice has noticed the way each new form of media and spatial media in particular tries to reinvent the kind of representation of the place in which we're in. So for me that's to be resisted because it's a kind of ahistorical approach that forgets and isn't able to engage with the contingencies of place, of country, and of temporality. So I'm working in that way to kind of, yeah, to renew, to refashion encounters with collections in place. For me being spatial is really important. I'm going to play some work. I'm not trying not to talk too much, but play some work that is always required, always normally experienced outdoors, under a tree. I'll play a work under a tree. Outside, you know, building projections. I work a lot in projection media. And I guess that's a really deliberate, a deliberate kind of replacing to be in community, to be working with participants, audiences that are maybe not going to be walking inside the four walls of the gallery. Also very much working, you know, with the body, multi-sensory experience is very foundational to this practice. And also increasingly bringing into the frame more than human recordings and perspectives as well. So remediation for me, as I said, it's a foundational kind of practice. It's about genealogies of affiliations, not a linear story, a linear history. And the concept here is that by remediating, we're kind of revisiting like a form of media. You know, we talked about, Mimi, you talked about the way that there's a kind of always representing its time and a kind of authenticity of an agenda from a period. I like to revisit that and resituate that and ask what kind of politics emerges from that. But also, as I said, it's kind of a political intervention here to even say that, look, we're not starting with a tabula rasa. We have contested histories that are contained within collections. And increasingly, and it's interesting, in the way that my practice has evolved in the last, as you said, kind of 15 years, I was really interested in kind of Bergsonian forms of time, which are European kind of trajectory of really busting out of the kind of linear narrative or a trajectory of this, then this, then this, then this in history, busting out of that. And I guess that's why I've really loved kind of learning more and more about country-centered perspectives of time and the idea of everyone in the past being still alive in the present. And this has been a framework within which kind of hope and kind of change can be made possible. So I'm just going to play some work that kind of situates this. But before I do, I guess just to emphasize that my work is really collaborative. I'm here on the panel, but I work a lot with a lot of different communities. I work a lot with First Nations elders and knowledge keepers, field recordists, technical producers, community storytellers, collections custodians, visual artists, sound composers and designers, and also place custodians. Often the biggest part of this work is actually getting the permission to be in a place because we live in a very, very governed world. So yeah, place custodians are always really good to me. And just some of the people that are frequent collaborators on this work. So I work SM Projects as myself, Sarah Barnes, and led by Michael Killarly as creative director as well. And there's a whole team of people that kind of sit behind this work as well. So I just wanted to show from here some of the recent work that we've been doing that situates, resituates, come on the archival media that we work with. The first project is one called Superorganism. It was first launched in 2021 and came out of, I guess, a lot of grief that I was experiencing after the bushfires. And interestingly, my commission for this then happened during lockdown. So I spent a lot of time actually researching the history of field recordings in Australia. Some of the earliest kind of recordists of bird sounds and things like that. John Hutchison is one in particular, but also Vicki Powies and others. And then also researching kind of global field recorders and what that movement is about. And thinking, I guess, about those recordings, situating them in a wider politics of increasingly kind of exploitative approaches to natural capital. And the way that a datafication of our natural environment is in turn generating a new form of natural intelligence that is datafied. Superorganism as a term comes from, of course, James Lovelock's concept of the world as a superorganism, Earth as a superorganism. But I read his second last book before he sadly passed away at age 101 last year was a book called Novosene where he explored our role, humans, our role as custodians of new forms of intelligence that will expand into space. So this work kind of brings those different practices together. I'm going to press play. A very curious thing happened in approximately 1946, 47, unless I was you know, all these There are secret developments in different intellectual centers dealing with communication problems. The problem of what sort of a thing is an organized system. I'm not a robot, but some of my friends are. Now, I am a human being. I'm a robot. I'm a human being. I am a robot. I am a human being. I am a robot. Yeah, so that work was exhibited first in Brisbane in the City Botanic Gardens and is then toured to various locations and is also playing at Vivid this year as well. And it was interesting because it really created this very, like it was probably one of our most popular works. It was, people loved it and stayed and came back and brought friends and just spent a lot of time under this beautiful Tipu Tipuana tree, big long limbs as you could see. So it was a kind of space of kind of refuge it felt like as well. So, and just in terms of the production of that, the programmatic lights, the sort of the shape that you could see was the shape that was kind of programmed to operate in the tree. So we were playing with ideas of the kind of, you know, the mediation of the very natural systems that support us. So there was some kind of those kinds of themes working in that as well as ideas of kind of grief and loss of listening in the Anthropocene. In terms of just another couple of projects that situate this practice, this is an upcoming project with the Australian Museum that is launching on Wabigal Country actually next month. And it kind of revisits John Gould's Birds of Australia collections, which have recently been digitized, the illustrations have been digitized by the museum. And we're kind of resituating this collection and story as part of, I guess, revisiting Gould's early journeys in New South Wales and establishing new conversations with First Nations elders. It will tour for two years around New South Wales. But again, I guess building on that practice of listening to historical field recordings of Australian birds, then situating those recordings within more First Nations kind of storytelling about the role of birds and then in everyday life and in Dreamtime stories, but then also what it was for practices of colonial science to come and to essentially kind of build on and kind of establish a new form of knowledge here in Australia. So I found this project a really interesting one where being able to situate the collection in a public space through our Storybox platform allows for new kinds of conversations to take place with the First Nations elders and storytellers, as well as some other community participants along the way. I'm not going to show the videos for that, so I'm just going to skip through just for the interests of time. I just wanted to work through, just to talk through one final project that builds on a lot of the work and research that I've done, again, working with sound archives. So I guess sound has for me been a way into the collections, into archives, to bring that sense of kind of embodied encounter with collections, so not purely the visual screen, which is why this environment is slightly different, because it's not intended as purely screen-based media. It's more about being situated in a city environment or a park environment. But yeah, so this particular work was really, it's called We Dream the City, and it was playing with ideas around the city as being a product of kind of evolving forms of technologies of representation and control, and the city as kind of being in conflict with ideas about as a place of community connectedness. And the way these two forms of kind of idealizations of the city, the city as a kind of spatial fix and a kind of technological wonder, is often in conflict with the idea of cities being places that we belong to, that nurture us and sustain us in community. So this work drew on a lot of collections from Transport Archive, National Film and Sound Archive, ABC Archive, about ten years' worth of archival research sits behind it, which I've done in the past, but lots of collaborators working on this one as well. The world is becoming more organized, and it's needed for people to talk about their living conditions and the quality of life in the city. You have to understand that, man, I don't want any money. I want to see... I'm trying to get through to the man, but he can't see. I'm trying to get through to the man, but he can't see. I'm trying to get through to the man, but he can't see. I'm trying to get through to the man, but he can't see. I think I'll finish up there. Thanks. So I think this is where we have a conversation, right? And take some questions from the audience. How are we going for time? Yeah, what's the time like? We've got ten minutes. Okay. Anyone in the audience got any questions they want to... Well, maybe I'll start us off, and then if anybody has something. That's great. It's really nice to do this. I think there's so many overlaps in what we're all talking about. It's great. I'm glad that we got to figure it out while we're here on stage. I guess I'm curious. It seems like all of us are very interested in challenging archives to some degree, and yet even when you're challenging something, you still are centering it as a thing that you're working against. And I suppose I wonder what your thoughts are on how you position yourself in relation to that. I might go. Yeah, I'll go first. It's a really interesting one, because I think it comes back to that negotiating the absence in lots of ways, like kind of defining the sort of object nature of absence, right? It has a materiality in and of itself, if not just by revealing the structure around it. It is a big part. I think it's a big part for me centering parts of that conversation to draw at the... I guess there's a sense of urgency, right? There's a sense of urgency to allow not only access, but also to interrogate the meaning of them, like what are they doing, holding things away from culture, from knowledge holders. We talk about repatriation, but there's also like mirror maturation in terms of the material holding a lot of information for communities and sort of keeping that at a distance. I'm coming from an architecture background, quite interested in stuff, right? I'm not politicized for any other reason except for I want the stuff, right? I want the stuff in the archive and we also want the stuff to be able to live in the city. So like when someone has your stuff, it's sort of like an interesting... It's like you kind of have to center it even when it's at a distance. And I think that that's sort of... That's definitely how I've thought through it. Yeah, I think particularly... I mean, I was here at ACMI, I was not particularly interested per se myself engaging in their film and sound archive of any sort of indigenous material because I, from experience in the past dealing with other institutions, understand that they're not usually dealt with in the most sensitive ways. And I didn't wanna come into contact with something that I shouldn't have access to, right? And so that's also... And Jazz Money's work that's down in the show downstairs, this beautiful 10 meter long curtain, has this whole essay essentially kind of talking through parts of those material absences and often how indigenous artists or indigenous people are sort of used in this way to reengage with the archive as a kind of canary in the coal mine, right? After amassing all of this stuff, they invite people in to go in there and use it, but it's like there's been no protocol, there's been no sensitivity to what's in there. So I think problematizing it continually is still really important to me. So I think that's probably why I would center it still, well, trying to undermine aspects of it. Yeah. Yeah, and it's a great question, Mimi. Yeah, I like that phrase, problematizing it continually, I guess that's kind of what I find with the re-situating of the recordings is about trying to do, even if it's to kind of say... And I found that the most recent project being the Gould illustrations that by kind of bringing them out into public domain in a new format, new animations and beautiful, but it also where are the First Nations stories around these in relation to the collection. And so that becomes a springboard to then initiate more conversations, First Nations conversations around these collections that the museum has and the illustrations. So it's almost, yeah, the repositioning then opens up different conversations that maybe wouldn't have happened otherwise. But I have been accused certainly of adherence to the record as though that's not a critical thing to be, whereas I think we always know when we're engaging with archives just exactly how many absences there are and how problematic that is. Yeah, and it is a material reality. It is here, the archive is there. Whether you engage with it or not, it continues to exist and it holds all of that tension. I think I'm Igbo American. I come from a group in Nigeria who traditionally don't have museums at all. I think about this a lot in terms of relationship to art making because the way there's a specific group of us in particular who would create work and it was designed to degrade, it was part of it. It's like you build it and then it serves a purpose and people come together around it and then you leave it. And really the idea of what stays, what remains is not about the material, it's about everything else but it. In a way that opens up a way of being where it's like we are constantly reinventing this. And also it removes that importance of the artifact and the art world is built on collecting. That tradition is very much known. Yeah, I don't want to interrupt you but Wesley Enoch I think has like, and I can criticize him as well, but he has this really interesting statement about how the Western frame is obsessed with the detritus of culture. The material left after the ceremony. They don't care about the people, they care about the stuff. That never was the intention of these objects, some of them, other things and the density of diversity and of sovereignty in this land. But it is what you can hold and have and what you can collect. Which is I think why I'm so, I'm always so wary of it, always. The thing that remains after and how that has a primacy just by nature of its legibility. Yeah, there was an interesting conversation I had here with the preservation people about like what format we could save the work at so that it would like, something would happen to it or like how we could make it illegible on a platform context. And it's kind of continuing in that trajectory in future work, thinking about the ways to like, you know it's obviously really basic ways. You can bridge copyright and that's therefore it doesn't, it's not allowed to go on place. But it's like thinking about what is intrinsic to the material stuff so that it can, so there is something maybe more interesting in the kind of live capacity of it or the lived capacity of it or the information that it carries on as it degrades or something. I think we're going to have to wrap up guys. I'm sorry, but I think our time's up. Let's take it outside. Thank you.