To Solaris and Back: Archival Episodes. A lecture by Lars Bang Larsen


Lars Bang Larsen will talk about the process and politics of the archive, comparing it with the thinking ocean of Stanislaw Lem and Andrey Tarkovsky’s Solaris.

The magmatic protagonist of Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 novel Solaris—made into a film by Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972—is an intelligent ocean on a faraway planet that produces spectral “visitors” in human form. Embodiments of personal trauma, the resurrected visitors come as wish fulfillments as much as nightmares to a small group of scientists stationed there. Archives, like ghosts, are always looking for someone to talk to. They look to the future and toward actualization against a backdrop of entropy. But it is also about the stern or even punishing authority of archives and the high demands they place on those who make and use them. If historical knowledge can instruct our own time that it is not exceptional, our dealings with archives can move and unfix that which is perceived as the laws of history. This concerns the politics of the archive, in the broad sense that archives react to what we do to them.



Lars Bang Larsen is a writer, curator, and art historian based in Copenhagen. He has co-curated group exhibitions such as Incerteza Viva, the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016); Reflections from Damaged Life, Raven Row, London (2013); and Georgiana Houghton: Spirit Drawings, Courtauld Gallery, London (2016). His books include The Model: A Model for a Qualitative Society 1968 (2010); Networks (MIT Press, 2014); Arte y norma (Cruce Casa, 2016); and a forthcoming monograph on the cyberfeminist textile punk of Charlotte Johannesson. With Caroline Woodley he is an editor of the anthology Art and Psychedelia. A Critical Reader (Afterall Books, 2018).



Free admission with advance registration.

The talk is part of the sixth session of the conference.