The Jerusalem Show VII 

Chapter Four: Measures

Exhibition in a library on collecting and archiving

Tom Nicholson, from the project Comparative Monument (Ma'man Allah), 2012–2014. Photograph. Copyright and courtesy the artist.

In the relation between what is said and its taking place, it was possible to bracket the subject of enunciation, since speech had already taken place. But the relation between language and its existence, between langue and the archive, demands subjectivity as that which, in its very possibility of speech, bears witness to an impossibility of speech. This is why subjectivity appears as witness; this is why it can speak for those who cannot speak.

– Giorgio Agamben[1]


It would be a delusion to consider an archive as a stable source for truth. Nevertheless, the act of archiving and collecting is very important for uncovering – whether objective or biased – unspoken and neglected issues. It presents a potential to challenge the user to confront muted realities. Therefore, an archive may also become a tool for tactile, emotional, and experience-based communication and could open up a space for exchanging 'unrecognized' and 'unregistered' information for its users.


In this chapter, the very act of collecting and archiving is linked with a presence of a library. Thus, two distinctive projects, based on extensive research by Tom Nicholson and Raqs Media Collective, route their way in this presence.

[1] Agamben, Giorgio. Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive. New York: Zone, 1999, p: 146


[2]Extracted from the artistic statement of Raqs Media Collective.

© Al Ma'mal 2017           privacy policy

  • Facebook Basic Black
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Tumblr Icon