Lydia Nsiah

to forget resistance

An artistic archival project developed on the base of the „Queer/ Inter/ Trans*/ Black/ People of Colour Artist Resistance“ – Archive of WE DEY X Space | Exhibition at WE DEY X Space, Dec 7–15 2018 | supported by kueltuer gemma! Fellowship

Image above: to forget resistance 1, middle format on expired roll film (Afgacolor Portrait 160, 2007), 1 x 1 m, photo print, Lydia Nsiah 2018

We remember, we forget and we remember again. Forgetting and remembering are vital processes of our consciousness and closely related to each other. To forget is essential for handling our daily routine, freeing our mind and starting over. In their close relation, forgetting and remembering together coordinate the virtualisation (absence) and the actualisation (presence) of past experiences and perceptions. At every time the forgotten could reappear in our mind’s consciousness – and we remember again.

With my work to forget, I question forgetting in using expired Super-8, 16-mm and middle format roll film. The possibilities in failing – visible in non-existing, fading and colour-transformed film exposures – stand for the forgetting of images and sounds coming from expired chemicals. For WE DEY X Space I refer to this concept by recording analogue materials of the „Queer/ Inter/ Trans*/ Black/ People of Colour Artist Resistance“ – Archive on non-reliable middle format film. The archive is relatively young, containing recordings and documentations of performances, exhibitions and lectures from the past few years, made by community members themselves. It‘s an archive in progress, still finding it‘s shape and form. The project‘s conceptual approach is closely linked to this fact. The photo series to forget resistance 1-4 works with the risk of having no documentation, of recording a forgotten and fading space. Similar to the setup of our human mind (or the film celluloid’s organic layers) in the composition of to forget resistance the archival documents not only overlay and complement each other, but also reveal gaps and empty spaces among them. Forgetting, here, is nothing final, it is understood as a shifting process, similar to the processes when we remember.

While archiving/ developing an archival structure for future research and artistic projects to come, and watching the video documentations, photos, folders, flyers, post cards, texts and books of the QIT*BPocAR – Archive, I felt its resisting power in every second and every inch of the material. This exhibition is a proposal to shape these collected materials in forgetting. Adding to my own perspectives when selecting and editing the photos and videos, I decided to refer to the concept of cyclic time – becoming visible in the structure of the two video documenations shown. The photo film (5 min) starts with the beginning of WE DEY before WE DEY had X Space, while the video (1h15min) starts with one of the most recent exhibitions, going backwards. These loops complement each other and at the same time reveal the processual character of the two ‘archival reels’ as I like to call them. These are not finished works. They are collective works in progress, recorded from diverse angles by different community members. In the exhibition‘s installation the projections slightly overlay each other. The canvasses out of transparent paper remember and forget, while the expired photo series does the same. The images’ colours, contrasts and acuity fade and make only fragments visible. The images are not colour graded and the sound is not mixed: the QIT*BPocAR – Archive is in progress.