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.