Dissecting The Archive: An Investigation in Seven Parts


Archives are everywhere and everybody archives. Whether in relation to the body, social media, the library and museum stacks, or within the quotidian, we are challenging and energizing the field of archiving. 

With a focus on highlighting art, culture, and history, we seek for DIRT to serve as a living and evolving archive of the past and present, as well as a resource for the future. The motivation for this collection of essays stems from that desire. 

Through a seven-part investigation, DIRT’s editors address: why a socio-political lens is necessary to approach an institutional archive; how an individual finds agency in forming their own archive; the processes in which artists reincarnate the archive; the challenges of archiving performance art after the Internet; the body as an archival vessel in drag and house ball culture; the role of the archivist in the contemporary art field; and the practice of archiving in the everyday. 

Commissioned by Common Field, this series is part of the 2017 Field Perspectives — a co-publishing initiative run in collaboration with a group of national arts publishing organizations exploring the state of the alternative artist-centered field. Dissecting the Archive is in conjunction with the 2017 Common Field Convening in LA this November. 

We are honored to participate alongside peer publications: Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles (CARLA)contemptoraryX-TRAARTS.BLACK (Detroit/New York), Art Practical (Bay Area), The Chart (Portland, ME), Pelican Bomb (New Orleans), and Temporary Art Review (St. Louis).