From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

(Re)entering the archive: critical reflections on archives and whiteness

Alessandra Ferrini


As a UK-based artist-researcher, my work has been mostly concerned with questioning the archive of Italian coloniality from an outsider position. This contribution wishes to engage critically with some of the foundational elements and methods of my practice and to dwell on what it means to engage with the archive of coloniality from the privilege of whiteness. I will put forward some reflections on the ethical implications of this work and some propositions on how to (re)enter the archive, that is, how to create conditions that do not replicate colonial and racist relations. In particular, I will consider practices of positioning, intersectionality and sustained commitment to anti-racist politics, while also identifying some of the obstacles that have been preventing a constructive debate within the Italian visual art contexts. The text is interspersed with images from the installation A Bomb to be Reloaded (2019) in which I have investigated the influence of Frantz Fanon’s thought on a generation of militant intellectuals in Italy, and, in particular, on Giovanni Pirelli. It features research on the dismembered library of the Centro di documentazione Frantz Fanon, a research centre for the study and support of decolonial and anti-imperialist struggles that was active in Milan between 1963 and 1967, as well as testimonies by the Italo-Somali actress Kadigia Bove.


archive of coloniality, whiteness, Italian visual arts, Frantz Fanon, anti-racist politics



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