At work in the archive: introduction to special issue

Ferdinand De Jong

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In the last two decades, an increasing number of artists have engaged the spectres of colonialism that continue to haunt us in our postcolonial present. Interrupting established historical narratives of colonial domination, artists have started to address the legacy of imperialism by examining the colonial archive. At work in the archive, these artists examine the possibilities of decolonialising colonial subjectivities. Through the return, recuperation, and re-enactment of archives, archival art points to the potential of forgotten pasts and unanticipated futures lingering in the imperial archive. As the articles in this volume demonstrate, such archival interventions often serve an emancipatory agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-17
Number of pages15
JournalWorld Art
Issue number1
Early online date23 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • art
  • archive
  • empire
  • decolonisation
  • futures
  • recuperation
  • re-enactment

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