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The archive as a historical source and as a source of creation
Conference by Philippe Black
Seeing and touching archival documents gives us access to the past, to events that we reimagine, to people that we remember. But in what way is the archive a guarantee of truth?
What are the positions of historians, applying a scientific rigor? What are the positions of artists, who appropriate the archive and give free rein to their imagination? Can we make a piece of archive say everything? The answers differ according to whether one is a historian or an artist. What solutions can be found to reconcile the historical and artistic approaches?
This intervention will first address the working methods of the historian, for whom archival documents are “primary sources”. Then, it will discuss the use of archives in art, using examples from literature (Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, Jules Verne, J.R.R. Tolkien, …), cinema (Twin Peaks, Dark, …) and photography (Joan Fontcuberta, Sally Mann …). To conclude, Philippe Black will share his thoughts on his own artistic research.
Philippe Black is a historian, literary historian, journalist and photographer. In 2010, he defended a thesis on the history of literature in the Eastern Townships between the wars at UCLouvain, where he taught from 2010 to 2021 and where he is currently a researcher. A graduate of the Agnès Varda School of Photography of the City of Brussels, he exhibited his projects Borderlines and Transition at Espace Vanderborght in 2020.