Kenneth Tam, sump, 2015 / video still / Courtesy of the artist
Absolute Memory: An Archive of Softness
Apr 26 – May 18, 2024
CCA Wattis Institute
San Francisco, USA

The traditionally rigid and “objective” forms of an archive often default to the exclusion of our daily lives as we live them; what is undefinable, ephemeral, and unstable falls to the wayside of memory. The texture of our daily lives – its sweetness, sting, bitterness, and bite – becomes flattened. By presenting a collection of artists who consider reminiscence, feelings, affinities, ways of being, auto-fiction, and the everyday as archival materials, Absolute Memory: An Archive of Softness begins to unravel and reconstitute containers of cultural memory. More a series of questions than an answer, our exhibition dreams of the archive as something softer – able to hold both the tangible and intangible realities of the lived experience. Ultimately, we ask, how can we begin to untangle the structures of the archive, and how can an exhibition space be the construction site of a more absolute archive?

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