Active Residues

Cnaani-David, Ofri. 2023. Active Residues. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Active Residues)
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Abstract or Description

My PhD studies the aftermath of the museum collection to show how the removal of the object leaves behind the multiplicity of its conditions. As an entry point, I probe a set of questions that arise from a sequence of events that happen in the autumn of 2018. It's a story that begins with an error: in six short hours in September, a disastrous fire brought an end to two centuries' worth of treasures held in Brazil's National Museum. Only a handful of artifacts of the 20 million items that were housed at the museum survived the fire. At the age of algorithmic reproduction, it feels almost unimaginable that so many valuable objects were simply wiped off the face of the earth without leaving any digital trace. I propose that although the museum's objects no longer operate within their inherited institutional orders or colonial indexes, some of their constitutions, temperaments, and affordances are "dragged" with them from their original matter to the digital and information realm. The residues are unordered strata of matter, bio-form, and digital information that remained unclaimed by the institution. The museum's residues do not have form, like objects. Instead, they are the surplus of affects, tools, and affordances that arrive with the objects. They enunciate the futurity of the museum apparatus in its state of afterness. Museum afterness applies to the incomplete state between the "no longer" and the "not yet". Afterness is the state that comes after an event or an institutional structure has ended but the orders and relations that conditioned its existence are still active. I argue that the state of afterness not only stands for what comes after the institution but can potentially represent knowledge based on continuity of transformation between technical systems, matter formations, and biological life forms. Active Residues is a practice-theory research project where I use theoretical frameworks and performance-based methods to speculate on several "modes of afterness," which is how I define a set of modalities and practices stirred up in the wake of the museum that can become active sites for unlearning it.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Museum, Brazil, Afterness, Active Residues, Performance, Network Culture, Digital Colonialism, Collections, Advance Practices, Practice Based Researh, Digital Remains.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


31 January 2023

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

13 Feb 2023 11:44

Last Modified:

13 Feb 2023 12:00


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