Radical Art of Archiving Performance

Fascinating article by Alexis Clements on ‘The Radical Art of Archiving Performance, as Practiced by Martha Wilson‘ from Hyperallergic, 8 April 2015.

Clements reminds us how, ‘The practices of using first-person accounts or oral histories, ephemera and grassroots archives, as well as alternative publishers, have long been core strategies for feminists seeking to document and preserve histories that have been ignored or mischaracterized by institutions’.

Of artist Martha Wilson, she observes ‘Wilson … is demonstrating and embodying methodologies for grappling with what others find too messy and confusing to confront through the act of narrating her own archive. Some will dismiss these narrations as too personal or too close to the subject, but we know by now that objectivity is, at best, an illusion. The fact that so many people who have done so much for the arts are forced into the position of writing their own histories remains galling and problematic. But as an act of resistance and a strategy for demanding attention by the sheer weight of their accomplishments, it’s clear that the archive remains a powerful tool’.


A notebook of Martha Wilson’s