The Politics of Absence: "Minor" Experiences and the Alternative Archive

Andersdotter, Sara (2017) The Politics of Absence: "Minor" Experiences and the Alternative Archive. The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, 12 (1). pp. 47-52. ISSN 2326-9960 (Print); 2327-2104 (Online)


This article derives from research carried out for my recent practice-based PhD thesis in Fine Art. The thesis investigates forms of expression alternative to the representations of memory produced by dominant culture (in the forms of archives, documents, and museums), and focuses specifically on installation art. My PhD research sets out to explore memories that exist without physical forms of representation, such as photographs and other records. Having grown up in Sweden, a country where hunting is a common activity among farmers and the rural working class, and witnessed the traditions, rituals, and practices surrounding hunting, I wanted to explore personal, yet undocumented, memories from that part of my childhood. Practices of hunting tend to differ from country to country, and I do not wish to discuss or take a position on the ethical implications of killing animals. I grew up alongside this community in Sweden, however, my family and I never took part in hunting. Having grown up around this particular group, I incorporate these expressions in my art practice, and consider the manners in which alternative ideas of memory may emerge. This article considers an element of the thesis, which reflects on expressions by the Swedish hunting community and their alternative systems for self-representation. The specific community that I will be focusing on is a fringe group, operating in the margins of contemporary Sweden, and is for the most part unrepresented in dominant records of Swedish culture. What this article will outline is how this group has formed their own archives, records, and spaces of exchange through YouTube and blogs , facilitating the voicing of alternative experiences, rituals, and memories. The focus will fall on these “alternative archives,” and consider them, and the Swedish hunting community, in relation to the French philosophers Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts of the minor and creative-disruptive acts of “stuttering and stammering,” in their production of subjectivity.

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