Collections often work with displaced objects and fragments through complex, in many cases invisible and highly mediated, procedures of interpretation, and ultimately of the invention of their meaning. To collect, in this sense, implies the appropriation objects and images (evident in the case of archaeological or ethnographic museum collections). Many present-day artists set to reflect on the nature and the effects of such infrastructures. While museums and their collections appropriate objects, artworks and images in the sense that they frame them in certain categories and fix their meaning, artists in their practices address in the nature of such collections and question their methods and implicit narratives. In many cases artists take the objects "back" from the archive or the museum collection in order to re-open a possibility to look at them in a different way. This gesture could be called counter-appropriation.
The lecture will look at the way artistic practices carve out a space for what I could name anarcheological research. As much as those artistic practices are the expression of an impulse to reconsider the narratives of history, to retrace alternative possible histories and facts, they also indicate a desire to reflect on the very infrastructure of the apparatus of the archive, and of the image, as well as a concern with a more intimate and subjective mode of production of meaning.