Living Archive

Archiving as a contemporary artistic and curatorial practice

"Living Archive", Martin Ebner, Film ohne Film, 2013 (nach: Evil Faerie von George Landow, 1 min., 1966)

The Arsenal - Institute of Film and Video Art e.V. has amassed a collection of some 8,000 films since it was established 50 years ago. The collection represents a half century of international film art outside the mainstream by such filmmakers as Derek Jarman, Manoel de Oliveira, Andrei Tarkovski or Claude Lanzmann, renowned for his documentary film epic Shoah.

The project "Living Archive" invited over 30 curators, directors, artists, musicians, performers and Goethe-Institut scholarship recipients from India, South Africa, Jordan and Brazil to develop projects based on works stored at the association’s archive. After intensively working with the collection over a two-year period, the participants developed 37 projects which reveal a living film archive. Numerous films were restored, digitalised, made publicly accessible through renegotiated copyright agreements or released on DVD. The research process also resulted in new artistic and scientific productions based on the archive itself, e.g. video works, performances, installations, acoustic works and research projects.

Final festival

As part of the project “Living Archive”, commemorating the Arsenal’s 50th anniversary, the association was hosting a major final festival from 4 to 30 June 2013 featuring film programmes, acoustic works, exhibitions, performances, installations, introductory events and discussions. The festival also presented five new DVDs with 23 digitally re-mastered films.

A joint project with the KW Institute for Contemporary Art

The KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin was contributing to the festival with an accompanying exhibition from 6 to 23 June which explored the themes in the uncovered material and reflected on the medium of archives and the processes of archiving. In screenings, installations, gathered materials and performances, the participants revealed their research findings and described how they worked with the Arsenal’s collection. Furthermore, the Arsenal had set up a screening room in the “Studiolo” at the KW where guests were able to view selected films and video works of the “Living Archive” project.

Artistic director of the “Living Archive” project: Stefanie Schulte Strathaus
Artists: Madeleine Bernstorff, John Blue, Oksana Bulgakowa/Dietmar Hochmuth, Filipa César, Vaginal Davis, Madhusree Dutta, Martin Ebner, Darryl Els, Heinz Emigholz, Entuziazm (Michael Baute, Volker Pantenburg, Stefan Pethke, Stefanie Schlüter), Harun Farocki, Anselm Franke, Stephan Geene, Nanna Heidenreich, Tobias Hering, Brent Klinkum, Merle Kröger, Eunice Martins, Angela Melitopoulos, Avi Mograbi, Sabine Nessel and students of the FU Berlin, Winfried Pauleit, Joel Pizzini, Constanze Ruhm, Susanne Sachsse, Ines Schaber, Philip Scheffner, Sabine Schöbel, Marcel Schwierin, Marc Siegel, Senta Siewert, students of the Hito Steyerl class (UdK), Dorothee Wenner, Ian White, Nicole Wolf, Florian Wüst, Ala Younis, Florian Zeyfang

Berlin, Arsenal, 1 June 2011 – 30 June 2013

More information

For more Information about the project "Living Archive" please visit the website of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art.

Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art (external link, opens in a new window)


Arsenal – Institut für Film- und Videokunst

Potsdamer Straße 2

10785 Berlin (external link, opens in a new window)