Experimentations With the Archive: A Roundtable Conversation




This roundtable took place via Google Hangouts in October 2019 and was moderated by Julietta Singh. The conversation was initiated to think through how artists, academics, seed librarians and archivists engage the notion of ‘archive’ across geographies and temporalities. This form of virtual engagement left space for multiple levels of conversation on the archive and archival practice. The purpose of the discussion was to think through the politics of collection, preservation and the embodiment of the archive.

Without making the notion of the archive appear banal, the discussion provides insight into the uses and manifestations of the archive for each of the participants. The conversation traverses questions of archival practice in South Africa, the Virgin Islands and the Black American South, thereby offering a wide scope of geographic engagement with how lingering remainders of slavery and colonialism become part of the soil and landscape. In this experimental dialogue, the participants subvert linear situated notions of archives and archival practice through providing insight into seeds and seed libraries as a form of survival; the visual and material archives of dirt, ruins and abandoned buildings; leaky body archives as experimentation; and collaborative ‘memory work’. The participants in this roundtable bring together new connections, ways of reading, seeing and experiencing praxis, theory and the embodiment of the archive from a feminist, queer and decolonial perspective.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2020, © SAGE Publications