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Why an archive?

  • Monday
    Nov 02–Monday
    Nov 30, 2020

Three Independent Archives From Guangzhou, Beijing, and Hong Kong 

Curated by Ariane Beyn

A film series to complement the exhibition Readings From Below, in collaboration with the Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art

Watch the online screening via Archive außer sich.

Danny Ning-tsun YUNG, Video Game, 1986, 4:3, color, mono, 12’35”
Video still courtesy of the artist and Videotage

Although the traditional institution of the archive continues to exist, new hybrid forms of archives have emerged that function both within and beyond the digital realm, building community, often outside of official state institutional structures. Three of the most influential independently founded and run archive initiatives in the field of art from Guangzhou, Beijing and Hong Kong, Videotage, Asia Art Archive, and Video Bureau, have for many years contributed to shaping the cultural landscape in their regions by pursuing long-term community engagement while at the same time generating far-reaching networks of knowledge production and exchange. 

In November, the Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art in collaboration with Times Art Center Berlin will present a selection of time-based works in the virtual cinema arsenal 3. The selected works will offer insights into the art movements of Asia to which the initiatives have been committed. Conversations with the people behind the archives on the presented works, their respective institutional foci, their history, and their view of the future will be published on the Archive außer sich website. This four-year project is a series of interdisciplinary research, presentation, and exhibition projects dealing with film cultural heritage and its archives.

Why an archive? is curated by Ariane Beyn in collaboration with Videotage, Asia Art Archive, Video Bureau, and is part of a public program for the exhibition Readings From Below at Times Art Center Berlin (until December 12, 2020).

With works by: aaajiao, Choi Yan-chi / Yau Ching / Leung Ping-Kwan, Ray Langenbach / Josef Ng, Lei Lei, Anson Mak, Ellen Pau, Shen Xin, Samson Young, Danny Yung, Zhang Peili


Conversation with John Tain, Chuong-Dai Vo and Anthony Yung of AAA (Moderated by Ariane Beyn)

Asia Art Archive was founded in 2000 in Hong Kong to make visible the multiple recent art histories of the region. With offices in Shanghai, New Delhi, and New York, AAA builds tools and communities to collectively expand knowledge through research, residency, and educational programs. The collection comprises a vast range of documentation, including the personal archives of significant artists, educators, and art professionals, as well as of key exhibitions and art spaces. 

Linda Lai and Angel Leung of Videotage in Conversation with Ariane Beyn 

Founded in 1986 in Hong Kong, Videotage has evolved from an artist-run collective into a network dedicated to developing the local media arts community. It has organized numerous events and programs since 1986, including exhibitions, festivals, and a residency program. It has continually distributed artworks through its networks and publications and has built up an extensive offline and online video art archive (VMAC) since 2008.

Chen Tong and Sue Hui of Video Bureau in Conversation with Ariane Beyn

Video Bureau (Guangzhou and Beijing) opened to the public in 2012. The work of the artist-run project primarily consists of archiving contemporary video art in China and beyond, in order to establish a comprehensive and searchable database for researchers, curators, artists, collectors, students, and others working in and outside of the art world, and to present the collected works to an interested community via events, educational programs and publications.