We sustain and share Black Memory for our collective wellbeing. We Look at our history in order to influence our future. We write, make films, devise installations, record music and produce events. We came to build. 

What is an archive?

Archives are places where information is kept. Information is important; some even say it is power, but who decides what is valuable, what is kept, how we keep it and how it is used? Some of the ways we think about these things now can be traced back to times when the West was busy 'civilising' Africa (and other places) [1]. That kind of power relationship can't really help us going forward. We think it needs changing. 

What is decolonisation?

The archive influences our idea of what is truth, what is fact, and what we label as such [2]. For us, the dismantling of the 'Eurocentric canon... that attributes truth only to the Western way of knowledge production' [3] is the essence of the decolonisation of our heritage; and more importantly, our minds. What exactly our history is and the most culturally appropriate ways of working with it are key questions guiding our process of applied research.

Knowledge should be of mutual benefit to all. It should be a tool to build frameworks for action and this action should be directed towards greater wellbeing. Wellbeing within our communities ultimately affects wellbeing in all communities; something most societies today have yet to recognise. 

If knowledge is a prerequisite for power, then the decolonial process should redistribute this power in new patterns; dissolving the exclusion and elite privilege in which current structures were forged and enabling the agency of all peoples to come to the fore.

What is Decolonising the Archive?

For us, Decolonising the Archive means:

1. Studying our cultural frameworks to understand how we remember things and why this is so.
2. Developing culturally appropriate methods for sustaining and sharing our histories. 
3. Devising ways to dissolve the barriers between our communities and the heritage locked up in large institutions which is of relevance to us.
4. Accepting that whilst we are collective, we are also individual and so one size cannot fit all.
5. Acknowledging that heritage cannot be separated from the present, or the future [4]. Distortions in the way history is preserved or presented have effects which carry forward for generations. 
 

Ultimately, we view history as something which lives, and therefore must be dealt with in living ways. 

 

References:

1. Richards, T. (1993), The Imperial Archive: Knowledge and the Fantasy of Empire, London/New York: Verso
2. Foucault,  M. Sheridan. A (1972), The Archeology of Knowledge, London: Tavistock, p. 129
3. Mbembe, A. (2015), Decolonising Knowledge and the Question of the Archive, p.9 [Online]
4. Cesar, F. (2016), The Solid Image - Notes on the luta ca caba inda project [Performance]