Foam 59: Histories
We tend to perceive archives as places and spaces where memories and evidence of histories are kept, preserved, indexed and certified; as repositories of traces, and treasure coves of relics and narratives. However, they are also very complicated entities, as the construction of archives all too easily lends itself to the curation, staging, erasure and manipulation of histories in ‘the public eye’. The new issue of Foam Magazine focuses on the archive as subject and looks at contemporary ways of engaging with archival images, and their remediation as a form of activation and critical analysis. The relationship between photography and the archive is a symbiotic one, but also an inherently problematic one, which is why the questions addressed in this magazine relate to its construction, and place decolonial approaches at the centre of the conversation.
Foam is incredibly proud to host contributions from a wide plethora of precious guests: from portfolios showing the works of artists such as Tavares Strachan, Alanna Fields, David Alekhuogie, Pacifico Silano and Frida Orupabo to text contributions by Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Stanley Wolukau Wanambwa, Anjali Arondekar, Brenda J. Caro Cocotle and Rona Sela – only to name a few. Our focus not only lies in the examination of established or physical archives, but in the creation of contemporary forms of photographic archiving. Ranging from innovative collaborations and new approaches in education as described by Sunil Shah, to the collection of memes as explored by Clusterduck Collective with their transmedia project Meme Manifesto. The most-loved feature, the On My Mind, hosts precious reflections from Shirin Neshat and Jacqueline Bates, while the Bookshelf presents an inspiring and necessary selection coming from Jessica de Abreu and Amsterdam-based The Black Archives. The What’s New introduces the upcoming publication by Mohamad Abdouni, Treat Me Like Your Mother: Trans Histories from Beirut Forgotten Past and our regular, main Interview presents an inspiring conversation between Awoiska van der Molen and Eugenie Shinkle. Last but not least, you fill find something special right at the end of this issue of Foam Magazine: the back cover of Histories presents a small selection of posters from the archive of Now You See Me Moria, a joint effort between an Afghan refugee living in the largest refugee camp of Europe (located in Moria, on the Greek island of Lesbos), and a photo editor based in the Netherlands, to collect photos and share stories documenting life in the camp. Foam Magazine invites you to ponder on the reimagined archive – one where past collective memories merge, shape the present and redirect the future.
Image from the series EIGHTEEN NINETY, 2020, installation detail from the exhibition In Plain Sight © Tavares Strachan, courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery