Songs From the Archive

The concept of remembering assumes we once knew, that inside of us exists all the knowledge. In the center of ‘Songs from the archive’ a digital flower entity sings, encouraging us to actively remember, to use our bodies to mine the knowledge within us, to reconnect with our animal instincts.

The entity, composed of archival videos, digitized from film, of blooming flowers and nature, sings a series of questions, the answers generated in a conversation with chat GPT.

The questions to the algorithm are naive: ‘How do I remember?’, ironically searching for ways to reclaim our minds and thoughts, whether personal, collective or historic notions.

How can we take back our consciousness and balance between our digital and physical body, how can we reconnect the relationships we maintain with the world - being them with human beings, organic life forms, technologies or other?

We are constantly archiving our souls in the cloud. Uploading our memories which are destined to live forever in virtual space thus subjecting our information to those in power. We are more post-human than human, and wifi is our oxygen.

According to Jacques Derrida the archive is not a neutral repository of knowledge but is entangled with the exercise of power and control.

Rosi Braidotti's concept of "forgetting to forget" emerges from her critique of dominant modes of knowledge production and the historical erasure of marginalized narratives. When we forget a certain event in our lives, or a certain person, neither the event nor the person ceases to exist.

In the space plaster reliefs of images extracted from the cemetery, another kind of archive, taken out of context, begins to resemble monsters or other creatures we don’t recognize. 

The archive as well as the cemetery serve as reminders of our interconnectedness. Just as people and plants undergo a natural process of decomposition and return to the earth, memories too can fade and deteriorate over time.

Wood cutouts of the same imagery from the cemetery as well as their negative spaces are chained together. The mobile hovers over a weed garden, plants taken from the streets of Porto and replanted in wet green foam, used to extend their life. Throughout the exhibition Itzik Mor photographs the process of the plant's decay, using black and white analogue photography, he develops, prints and installs the images in the space.

On the walls, large scale human / animal figures reminiscent of archaeological reliefs create veins in the walls.

The space is a memorial for memory, a resistance against forgetting, using iconic imagery and repurposing it to create a liminal place of the material and the immaterial.