In recording and ordering documents considered important, the archive is a source of power. It takes control of the past, deciding which voices will be heard and which won't, how they will be heard and for what purposes.
Aboriginal communities understood the power of the archive well before the European enlightenment arrived and began archiving them. For them colonialism has been a struggle over archives as much as anything else.
The 18 essays by 20 authors, 7 of whom are Aboriginal, investigate different aspects of this struggle in Australia, from Aboriginal uses of traditional archives and the development of new ones to the deconstruction and appropriation of European archives by contemporary artists as acts of cultural empowerment.
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