ANARCHIVE - Digital archives on contemporary art

anarchive is a series of interactive multi-media projects designed to explore an artist's overall oeuvre via diverse archival material.

The project is an historical and critical research which main purpose is to constitute the memory and increase public awareness of some of the most important developments in contemporary art such as performances, works in public places, video works, installations, experiments with technologies. Beyond a mode of preservation, beyond producing important databases about a whole oeuvre, the project aims at stimulating various artists to develop new works through the use of digital techniques.

Each production of the series is an archive, but it's mainly an "anarchive", meaning approaching art works from new perspectives and trying to uncover unprecedented relationships between the works.

This research which already belongs to archeology, is also an original artwork. The artists contribute to the conception of the project at different levels, by giving access to their own archives and by commenting them, and mainly by assuming the art direction of the project.

The titles of the anarchive series published are :
- Antoni Muntada Muntadas Media Architecture Installations, Centre Pompidou, 1999
- Michael Snow Digital Snow, Centre Pompidou, 2002
- Thierry Kuntzel Title TK, Anarchive / Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes, 2006
- Jean Otth … On the Concile of Nicea, Anarchive, 2007.
- Fujiko Nakaya FOG, Anarchive 2012
- Masaki Fujihata, Anarchive, 2016
- Peter Campus, Anarchive, 2017

_An historical and critical approach

The archives of these artists, often quite extensive, provide the opportunity for an historical, theoretical, and critical study based on existing works, in order to complete and synthesize them. It has to be remedied to dispersed information, incomplete documents, photographs of poor quality, which don't allow an accurate estimation of the different elements involved in a work and how they fit together. Sometimes new "documents" have to be produced with the artist precious collaboration.

anarchive aims to develop new approaches for describing works by using for example 3-D models simulation to explore and understand how installation elements are displayed and function together, or by producing a kind of equivalent to an interactive action. The computer program allows the interweaving of multiple relationships between the works, and mainly between these and different information fields, historical, social, economical. Each DVD-Rom includes an important database, that without pretending to exhaustiveness, is significant enough of the artist's oeuvre. The research aims first to produce new looking over a work or a set of works, not just to establish chronologies or to feed the given art categories.

_An original work

Experimentation with the interface design and the interactivity of the system plays an important role in the series. Each work is based on the individual approach of artists who have already strongly developed their own principles and concepts through a whole oeuvre. That's why these authors are more able to invent non conventional proposals. The programmers are stimulated by such approaches to develop a research in their own field. The involvement of so high level artists and the quality of the teams working with them secure an original approach and a multimedia production exploring all its possibilities. The fundamentally pluridisciplinary nature of such a project requires expertise in many fields: art history and theory, computer programming, graphic design, writing, video production, etc. For this reason, a team is assembled for each project to assist the artist.

_A reference and educative tool

These computer archives, which aim to expose the general public to topics and questions in contemporary art, are also an educational tool as well as a precious source of documentation for researchers, critics and curators. Schools of Art, Art departments in Universities, Libraries, Media and Art Centres, constitute a major audience for this project.

_Production, publishing and distribution

The funding of the different titles involve the collaboration of partners from different countries following a specific interest they may have for one or other artist's oeuvre. The production and the coordination of the project as well as the publishing, are assumed by ANARCHIVE, a non-profit organization.
The distribution of the series is international (as is the reknown of the artists involved). Therefore it includes, in addition to English and French, other languages depending on the artist's background

Distribution : Les presses du réel
35 rue Colson, 21000 Dijon - France
tel +33 (0)3 80 30 75 23 / fax +33 (0)3 80 30 59 74 [replace "AT" by "@"]