Angkar

fictional archive // work in progress

Thus the meaning of possibility might be really defined as the ability to think all that likewise could be and to give no more importance to what it is than what is not.
(Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities)

What happend in any particular moment and place, should be also possible ‘ceteris paribus’ in another place, in another time and with other people.
(Alexander Dermadt, The Undone History)

my artistic project is called “Angkar” – which in khmer means “organisation.“ In this projekt I try to explore in the historical narration as a possible narration of the reality, allowing the boundaries between the real and the possiblity to become blur through an alternative story. The story -which was also a probable historical scenario- is based on Peru’s recient history and the question: what would have happened if the maoist guerrilla Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) would had taken power and actually ruled Peru? To answer this question I decided to work with a format that aims to produce stability in the interpretation of the past by the organisation of its fragments: the archive.

In this proposal I use the form of the archive as historical intermediary to create an artistic installation that tells the story of a period that historically never happened: the Shining Path regime between 1990 and 1994. An archive, in this respect, must be understood as a collection of historical records (documents, letters, sound recordings, visual material, etc.) that, as a whole, tries to remember the function of human organisation in a particular period of time in order to re-present it. But, like memory, the interpretation of the archive is always influenced by the temporal distance that separates the historical events from our present. In order to fill that ‘temporal gap’ the archive reconstruct the past through coherent narratives looking for a historical value. This contradiction between the ‘actual’ past and the archive’s re-constructed past is what interests me the most with regard to my artistic approach to create an alternative history of Peru.

In my research I looked for, found and used real documents -like photographies, drawings, graphic works and video material. This archive material was recollected on the basis of my investigation at historical archives and my own memories of the internal war in Peru in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s. For my alternative story I transform this real archive material producing several new art pieces that document the fictional scenario. In the fiction the art pieces are catalogized under the label “The Angkar Archive” by a group of researchers called “The Organization,” who assumes that, although the authenticity of the materials conforming “The Angkar Archive” is still questionable, the art pieces must be made by one single anonymous artist living in Peru between the years of Sendero Lumino’s dystopical regime (1990-1994). The interpretation of the material and its historical value is based on “The Organization’s” ongoing research. Presenting myself as a part of this fictional group of researchers I want to show parts of this fictional ongoing research as an art installation.

This work shows posters, drawings, paintings and videos made by the anonymous artist and organized in card indexes by their possible date of origin and their date of entry in the catalogue of “The Organization.” In order to place the material within the historical time line of the Shining Path’s fictional regime, each card index shows an art work accompanied by a legend text explaning the work through the possible intention and role played by the anonymous artist at that time. With this arrangement I want to stress both: a temporal distance between the narrator and the narrated events and the “sense of possibility” of historical narration.