The fourth in the series of publications "Notes on Archives" dedicated to
archival practices, Dear Jadwa draws on a photographic archive from the Wadi Ara
Valley in Israel to reflect on how visual archives can shed light on
In 2008, an exhibition opened at the Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery, Israel,
that focused on the launching of a new on photographic archive: "Memories
of a Place: The Photo-Archives graphic History of Wadi 'Ara, 1903–2008."
Notably, the archive used a series of historical images from existing
archives, often giving them different captions that retrieve lost
histories in the area. This archive exemplifies the possibilities that can
result from the critique of institutional image archives: that rethinking
archival arrangements can bring to light legible traces of suppressed
The concept of the archive of the Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery concentrates on
the notion of place rather than on the identity of a photographer or a
person being shown. This became the point of departure for the artwork Dear
Jadwa, by Ines Schaber. How could one write a history of a place
through images? How could one deal with what might be excluded by it? What
would happen if there was a need for images that would not fit into the
concept of the newly established archive?
The latter was the case with two photographs of the Arab Ladies' Union
meeting in Jerusalem in 1944, images found originally in the Matson
Collection. In Dear Jadwa, both images are shown along with a
letter addressed to a woman who is pictured in both. The photographs are
accompanied by an interview with Dr. Mustafa Kabha, cocurator of the
exhibition and archive "Memories of a Place," and a text by Schaber
reflecting on the making of the archive.
"Notes on Archives" is a series of publications by artist Ines Schaber
about archives and the
practices we conduct in relation to them. Produced over the course of more
than ten years, the publications feature a series of case studies,
research, concrete projects, and reflections on the questions and problems
that image archives pose today. The aim of the work is not to find or
create another institutional archive per se, but to develop a practice in
which the set of problems that archives produce is in fact part of the
process one engages in.
The artist understands the archive as a place of negotiation and writing.
"There is no political power without control of the archive, if not of
memory. Effective democratization can always be measured by this essential
criterion: the participation in and the access to the archive, its
constitution, and its interpretation," writes Jacques
Ines Schaber (born 1969 in Reutlingen, Germany, lives and works in Berlin
and Los Angeles) is a visual artist. For fifteen years, she has worked on
the notion of the archive
through which she has examined a set of questions underlying archival photographic
practices. The projects, case studies, writings, and artistic works she
has produced in relation to these questions seek to trace new or alternate
archival practices. Since 2014, she teaches at the California Institute of
the Arts, in the School of Art, Program of Photography and Media.