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Les Archives Suédoises: a collaborative enquiry into a hidden colonial photographic archive
University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Institutionen för Konst (K).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3004-2813
2018 (English)In: Practicing the archive: exhibitions and research / [ed] Teresa Flores, Lisbon, 2018Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed) [Artistic work]
Abstract [en]

The paper will present the art project Les Archives Suédoises, exploring a neglected part of history by re-contextualising and reworking a hidden and dispersed archive consisting of historical glassplate negatives photographed by Swedish missionaries in the Congo 1890-1930. During the second half on the 19th century, an evangelical revival spread in Sweden. The new parishes that emerged had a deep concern for missions, and inspired by Stanley’s travels in the Congo, the church soon started sending missionaries. They brought camera equipment, and the resulting photographs were used for enticing home parishes to donate funds. Missionary lantern lectures visited chapels, schools and churches up until the sixties. For many Swedes this was their first encounter with Africa, and the images have thus had a profound influence of how Africa was imagined in Sweden. In the Congo DR on the other hand, not many photographs from the historical period remain; the colonizers controlled the technology, and the tropical climate and political turbulence has destroyed what was left. The missionaries were also very much part of a process whereby they documented the existing culture in the places where they settled – then set out to do their best to change, or even destroy it. How can we confront these types of images today, from a Swedish perspective, where there is great reluctance to look at this part of our history? And from a Congolese perspective, where the images both bear witness to the suffering of the people living through colonization, and depict old village life and traditions? We embarked on a collaborative artistic enquiry with Congolese sculptor FreddyTsimba, and created a series of site-specific installations in response to the archive, in Sweden and in the Congo, looking beyond our own context-specific histories and addressing the traumatic memory left in both nations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lisbon, 2018.
Keywords [sv]
Arkiv, postkoloniala processer, fotografi
National Category
Arts
Research subject
Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:konstfack:diva-6604OAI: oai:DiVA.org:konstfack-6604DiVA, id: diva2:1265731
Conference
RETHINKING THE PAST, International Conference Memory / Archive / Document – Arts and Architecture,CALOUSTE GULBENKIAN FOUNDATION, LISBON 8 – 9 November 2018
Available from: 2018-11-26 Created: 2018-11-26 Last updated: 2018-11-26Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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