Project Description

“Blazing Buildings: Unleashing the Potential of the Archive” (video installation)

Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich Maritime

Artist: Stamatis Zografos

Curator: Elena Papadaki

Date: 31 Aug – 03 Sep 2014

“Blazing buildings: unleashing the potential of the archive” is a video installation that challenges the archival function of buildings, and in this case of a World Heritage Site, the Old Royal Naval College. The proposed work depicts flames that are projected on a specific part of the building. Based on Jacques Derrida’s philosophy, archives can be explored through psychoanalysis thus carrying life and death drives. In this light, considering that buildings absorb and preserve memories just like archives, the material integrity of the former reflects the life drive, the drive that leads towards the creating and preservation of life. Yet, buildings always degenerate, and this, in archival terms, is the manifestation of the death drive, the drive that counteracts life and pushes always towards extinction. In the case of listed buildings, this degeneration is not permitted hence the death drive is supressed. Therefore the intention of this project is to release the death drive inherent to archives, which otherwise, if not sublimated, can be catastrophic to the archive itself.