‘The Unreliable Archives’ is an audio-installation-performance about the unreliability of (collective) memories.
An archive can never be reliable or complete: it is a subjective collection of fragments, arranged by subjective archivists within a specific era or context. Even our memories are unreliable, subjective and prone to change over time. By using a framework of unreliability, Rona Kennedy questions the idea of objectivity in a bid to find out which stories may be missing or concealed.
In stories about mining, for example, Kennedy links underground stories with above-ground ones. She collects stories about migration and mining in South Africa, but also about the impact of mining on Lapland’s nature and communities. Stories about the search for your roots and about finding your home in spite of (collective) trauma. The kind of trauma arising from land expropriation, for example, or the British boarding school system, or the separatist homelands system in South Africa during Apartheid.
The impact of these traumas, on both people and nature, is not immediately visible. Traumas are passed down across generations and leave literal scars on landscapes.
Collecting and sharing such stories is central to Kennedy’s artistic practice as a starting point for interaction and exchange.
In this transdisciplinary installation, Kennedy invites us, as fellow archivists, to take the time to ‘feel’ this complex material. What kind of perspective shifts would you like to see for yourself? With which complex relationships are you personally intertwined?
Concept and maker: Rona Kennedy, composer & sound editing : Hans Roels, dramaturg: Kopano Maroga, scenography: Saskia Lauwaard and Katrijn Baeten, assistant scenography: Sabine De Clercq, design: Hannelore Dreher, design collaborations: Ginelle Hustrulid, text editor: Line Mertens.
Made possible with the support of The Flemish Arts Council, Mestizo Arts Platform, Rataplan, Workspace Brussel, C-takt, CAMPO, VIERNULVIER Arts Centre, The Institute for Performativity, Maastricht & Timelab. Dutch translation Line Mertens.
This artistic research and installation is developed and made possible by everyone I interviewed. A big thank you to Audrey Kennedy, Bongile Lecoge Zulu, Carol Claessen, Elmi Badenhorst, Guy & Elizabeth Joubert, Henk & Ethne Van der Meyden and family, Katie Kennedy, Madelaine Miller, Maria Huhmarniemi, Mickie Lucas, Patient partners and staff at Grote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, Rachel Weiss, Rika Sitas, Sheila Tyeku, Simphiwe Mabuya, Virginia Zweigenthal, William Kennedy, Zaide Harneker. Singer Gregory ‘Keke’ Mabusela & everyone at The Centre for the Less Good Idea, based in Maboneng Johannesburg.
A big thank you also to: Ademilola Oduwole, Anne de Loos, Barbara Raes, Barbora Wouters, Bart Van den Eynde, Célia Fechas, Charlotte Peys, Duraid Abbas Ghaieb, Elke de Koker, Elly Van Eeghem, Enrica Camporesi, Fabián Espinosa Díaz, Helena Elshout, Inez Louwagie, Inge Van Reeth, Jackie Klune, Jan Cools, Joachim Ben Yakoub, John Kennedy, Lieselot Siddikki, Marika Ingels, Nele Keukelier, Patrice De Coene, Ruben Nachtergaele, Ruth Benschop, Sabine Declercq, Sanne Van Rijn, Sarah Thierry, Sigrid Laget, Silvana Mammone, Simon Baetens, Sophie De Somere, Steff Peters, Steven Brys, Ulrike Scholtes.