Anachrony and the Archive: On the Production of Feminist and Queer Temporalities in Contemporary Art
This paper will argue that the ‘archival turn’, and specifically the feminist and queer archival turn, that has emerged within contemporary art, forms a vital and radical gesture of critiquing and re-examining exclusionary historical narratives and registers of time for the current feminist and LGBTQ+ movements. The works discussed produce speculative feminist and queer temporalities by anachronically manipulating the conventional archive, and through becoming archives themselves. Rather than reinserting forgotten and excluded histories back into chronological history, they create alternate ways of addressing, registering and visualising time. In the production of feminist temporalities, I will examine Kate Davis’s moving image films, Weight (2014) and Charity (2017), as well as Lorna Macintyre’s exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts from 2018-2019, Pieces of You Are Here. In discussing the production of queer temporalities, I will focus on Zoe Leonard and Cheryl Dunye’s The Fae Richards Photo Archive (1993-1996), and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay and Agnieszka Koscianska’s You, Dear Doctor, Are My Only Rescue! (2017-ongoing) performances. This assertion of the generative nature of the gestures of returning to supressed histories in order to re-vision, imagine and resurrect seeks to challenge a notion, propounded by Dieter Roelstraete, that the archival, or historiographical turn in contemporary art ultimately fails to look towards the present or future, and is focused instead on melancholic nostalgia and corresponding to aesthetic trends.