With Documents of Breathing, Pasqua Vorgia and Pavlos Fysakis seek the slippery holds of memory. They describe their project as a collection of memory fragments (archival traces, family heirlooms, historical documents) that are being retrieved and composed in an associative manner, personal as well as collective. This “open archive,” as they call it, is divided into ten chapters and references two unfinished projects of modernity: Passagen-Werk by Walter Benjamin and Bilderatlas Mnemosyne by Aby Warburg.
Documents of Breathing is an unusual photography exhibition. It appears different every time, but always in the form of an open book. The exhibition title, borrowed from an ancient Egyptian burial text, a hex that equips the dead with the right to the afterlife, indicates the archival dimensions of the project, as well as an inner contradiction. While Documents of Breathing suggest an opening towards life, at the same time they converse with the dead. In the surviving images collected and annotated by Vorgia and Fysakis, the present and the past, the personal and the collective, remain inseparable.
Documents of Breathing is a theoretically justified project, one that does not allow you to question the intentions and knowledge of its creators. From a certain point of view, the ideal reading of the project lies in its very own fragmentary demeanor, in the construction logic that governs it, in the references to Benjamin and Warburg, in collage and editing respectively. It is not random then that amid the images of the exhibition a hypertext is included, which also functions as a photograph. In other words, the text that will effectively and imaginatively interpret Documents of Breathing will be no less than a collection of quotes and passages from texts by various authors that will culminate into a polyphonic reading.
The exhibition Documents of Breathing is organized by Onassis Stegi and Kolektiv8 and is supported by NEON as part of its annual Grants Scheme.