Archival Assembly #2: How to know what's really happening

Archives have a double nature. They can be the site from which part of a narrative has disappeared, leaving a telling gap behind that in time will draw attention to itself, its wider context, and to the culprits behind this accidental or deliberate omission. Similarly, archives can be the site where part of a narrative is found, this time a telling presence, sometimes the only surviving witness to a story, that opens up equally interesting investigations into the reasons for this accidental or deliberate act of preservation.

Archival and criminal investigations have much in common—often resembling each other in their driving motivations, processes, languages, techniques and effects. As sites of investigation, they are like connected vessels—what disappears from one site, may appear in the other. Possibly years later. Time will tell.

How to know whats really happening follows these intertwined languages of investigation. Through a selection of works that research and reflect on archives, we look into various ways in which the archive is encountered, navigated, built or destroyed, through processes that are often laborious and that can equally uncover fact as much as create fiction.

The title of the exhibition “How to know what’s really happening” is taken from the title of Francis McKee’s book published in 2016 as part of the Kayfa ta series.

Ala Dehghan, Alejandro “Luperca” Morales, Ali Eyal, Ana Dana Beroš, Armina Pilav, Aseel AlYaqoub, Chinar Shah and Nihaal Faizal, Francis McKee, Jan Němec, Lei Lei & Thomas Sauvin, Matija Kralj, Mauro Sirotnjak, Miodrag Gladović, Rafaela Dražić, Rick Myers, Tobias Zielony, Romeo Grünfelder, and Ute Aurand

Curated by
Maha Maamoun and Ala Younis

More about the exhibited works

Archival Assembly was launched in 2021 as the conclusion of the project "Archive außer sich". With a symposium, films, an exhibition and project presentations, the biennial festival from June 8–15 once again takes a look at international film archives as a living creative space for the future of cinema. The focus of Archival Assembly #2 is the critical reflection on the category of cinematic heritage, but also on cultural heritage in general, e.g. in relation to colonial and migration history or the history of political and aesthetic movements.

Festival programme

June 9 until July 2
Opening: Thursday, June 8, 4 pm
Opening hours: Mo–Fr, 2–8 pm / Sa–Sun, 11 am–8 pm
Free admission

June 11 I Book launch
Madhusree Dutta: How to make female action heroes
11.30 am, Betonhalle

Archival Assembly #2 is being put on by the Kino Arsenal, silent green Kulturquartier, and Sinema Transtopia in collaboration with the Goethe University in Frankfurt and the Goethe Institut. The festival is funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes.