Feminism in the Archives and the Archive in Feminism: Propositions Gleaned from Alex Martinis Roe’s To Become Two

Amelia Wallin


In this paper I propose that the current archival paradigm must attend equally to the materiality of archives, and the material conditions of their production and preservation, as evidenced through the archival strategies at play in the artwork of Alex Martinis Roe. For Martinis Roe, the return to the archive is a feminist strategy of care. She works directly with the minor histories of feminism, mining archives and other textual sources to recreate historical affinities and glean strategies of collectivity, collaboration, and mobilization. In writing this paper I draw on queer phenomenology and feminist materialism to excavate the works of Martinis Roe while also drawing in disparate threads of archival theory to consider the inherent paradoxes of the archive. The logic of the archive determines a reliance on the materials of daily life which themselves defy hierarchical classification systems. At the same time, the material conditions that produce and determine what enters the archive are only recently beginning to be reflected in archival practices. The (re)turn to the archive is made richer through access to the subjectivity of the author and archivist, the processes and care taken in the archives’ assembly and preservation. 


performance; gallery; archive; feminism; maintenance art; Alex Martinis Roe

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