July to August 1999

A project with Hans Peter Feldmann and Hans Ulrich Obrist

Starting Point

The archive plays an important role in contemporary discourses in art, museology, cultural studies and philosophy. Characteristic for the specific approach of the »Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg« is the interdisciplinary co-operation between art and different university disciplines. In the center of the project stand parts of the fragmentary, unfinished archive collected by H. U. Obrist, now stored at the University of Lüneburg. It currently consists of about 1 000 boxes containing international exhibition-catalogues, books on contemporary art- and culture-theory, articles from newspapers and magazines as well as extensive correspondences.

The Project

The archive is being worked on by a group of students and university lecturers in co-operation with H.-P Feldmann and H. U. Obrist. Dealing with the collected material in an open and flexible way and aiming at structures of constructions of meaning in picture-archives, H.-P. Feldmann’s artistic practice represents a most suitable basis for an interdisciplinary art-science-oriented inquiry on the functions of cultural archives, - an inquiry which focuses on the future-oriented perspectives rather than on the retrospective aspects.

The inventory of the archive uses different media and uncommon techniques in order to break the primacy of the visual. It follows the basic principle to maintain the characteristics of the archive, such as the personal attachment and the idiosyncratic order, while step by step allowing a broader public access to the archive as an open form of knowledge and network. Over several semesters the project has been accompanied by a program of seminars and lectures by professionals in the art field.


The results of the project work will be presented in an exhibition. The presentation aims at providing an open, flexible access to the material, thus referring to different positions and modes of action that might become relevant when dealing with archives. Opposite to the colloquial use of the term »archive« as a site of filed and administered historical material, the actual relevance of the material is to be focused on. This requires a processual changeability as well as different forms of participation and social usage. The project also intends to build up connections to newly started or unfinished archives around the world. This is going to happen via internet as well as through interviews, books and magazines. Relations were already built up to the archive of R. Fleck and to U. M. Bauer’s »lnformationsdienst«, numerous further links will be added as the project continues. The project aspires to multivocality: each archive is a site, surrounded by countless other sites, worthwhile to be explored.

A first presentation will take place on July l5th at the University of Lüneburg. ln cooperation with D. Birnbaum, director of the Swedish institute for cultural exchange, IASPIS, the INTERARCHIV is going to be shown at the exhibition-space of IASPIS. It will be accompanied by a program of lectures on contemporary approaches to archives. Afterwards it is planned to continue the project at further institutions, which are distinct for their particular attitude towards archives, and to extend the dialogue with other archives. In the long run the production of a publication and the launch of an internet-version are projected.

Publication: Beatrice von Bismarck, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Diethelm Stoller, Ulf Wuggenig (Hg.): interarchive. Archivarische Praktiken und Handlungsräume im zeitgenössischen Kunstfeld. Lüneburg/ Köln 2002.

Team: Koo Jeong A, B. v. Bismarck, B. Brandes, T. Clauszen, S. Eichele, H.-P. Feldmann, A. Heusermann, T. Kaiser, J. Lackner, G. Märkel, H. U. Obrist, K. Prätorius, N. Schwaderer, D. Stoller, J. K. Wiemann, U. Wuggenig, H. Zollondz

The project is supported by the Michael & Susanne Liebelt Stiftung.