Epilogue: Archive Matters

Liliana Gómez-Popescu

Abstract


“the archive […] will never be either memory or anamnesis as spontaneous,
alive and internal experience. On the contrary: the archive takes
place at the place of originary and structural breakdown of said memory.”1
What the philosopher Jacques Derrida diagnoses about the archive, taking
place at the lieu of a structural breakdown of memory, is pertinent as well for
the complicit yet complicated relationship between history and photography. It
is this collapse that all articles of this Special Issue allude to when they examine
photography as history. Let me take this idea a little further and consider how
archives matter when it comes to discussing the images’ “tension between facts
and meanings” mediated on the level of memory and remembrance.2 I will argue
that the relationship between history and photography is defined by the archive as
a place of consignation negotiated by the images that may nevertheless become
powerful enough to articulate counter-semantics and alternative narratives of
civil imaginations. As a sort of epilogue I wish to reveal this implicit political
ontological dimension of photography that is irreducibly tied to the archive.


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