- What’s On
In this talk, organised in parallel to the exhibition Empty Fields, Marc Nichanian will discuss the archive not as memory, but as the catastrophe of memory.
Nichanian takes inspiration from a statement made by Rebecca Comay in her introduction to the book Lost in the Archive: ‘Everyone seems to think that trauma calls for archive… The archive is itself the very trauma it would resolve’. This double statement has often been misunderstood, as if she wanted to denounce the drive to accumulate (objects, traces, evidence, documents) and said that too much memory is bad for memory. Yet she was making the argument that the archive is the catastrophe of memory. The survivor of such a catastrophe is entirely stripped of himself, because he is also stripped of the event that made him a survivor. This is the first and essential dimension of the archive. As a consequence, each time a particular archive is shown, the survivor appears (and disappears) behind the image as what s/he is: the dead witness.
Formerly a professor of Armenian Studies at Columbia University, Nichanian began in 2007 to teach regularly as a visiting professor at Sabancı University in the program of Cultural Studies.