Archive, Record and Power

The archive as a productive space of conflict


  • Anna Maria Guasch University of Barcelona, Spain



archive, conflict, anarchiving, document, datafication, collective memory


The archive has long been a recurring theme in contemporary art, yet it was not until the early 21st century that a prominent shift towards considering artworks "as archives" emerged. The archive, both as an institution and a metaphor, has assumed a central role not only in cultural discourse but also in creative practices, intersecting with significant social events. Digitisation has further expanded storage possibilities, facilitating unprecedented information mobility across various cultural and social spheres. More recently, curators of global biennials have also considered the archive as a productive space of conflict, creating an open framework in which the archive enables the creation of new relationships. This illustrates how spaces of knowledge can be devised, developed, and designed. Hence, this new concept of "the productive archive" is crucial, revealing itself as a space where documents and testimonies serve as a platform for productive dispute and struggle.


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Author Biography

Anna Maria Guasch, University of Barcelona, Spain

Anna Maria Guasch is an Art History Professor at the University of Barcelona. She also directs and coordinates Global Art Archive, a research group that studies archives and their role as a liaison between collective memory and individual development. Her most recent books include “El arte en la era de lo global. 1989-2015” (Madrid, Alianza, 2016), “The Codes of the Global” (Ediciones Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona 2018), “The Turns of the Global” (Ediciones Universitat de Barcelona 2019), “Derivas. Ensayos críticos sobre arte y pensamiento” (Madrid, Akal, 2021), “A New Ecology of Knowledges: modes of abyssal thinking” (Routledge, 2023) and “Art and Archive. 1920-2010. Genealogies, Typologies and discontinuities” (Barcelona, 2024).


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How to Cite

Guasch, A. M. (2024). Archive, Record and Power: The archive as a productive space of conflict . Archivo Papers, 4.

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