As of the 2005 edition, one of inSite’s goals was to formalize and organize its data by archiving the records of more than twenty years of work within the public domain practices, and with intervention and co-participative art in the border context.
After a two-year initiative to select and organize project documentation, inSite completed the inSite Archive, which in turn was donated to the Special Collections Library of the University of California, San Diego. A copy of the inSite Archive was donated to Arkheia at the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), the contemporary art museum of the National University in Mexico City.
The completion of the inSite Archive was the impetus behind two inSite sponsored initiatives: El Ágora (The Agora, 2007), an architectural project by Gustavo Lipkau and Xavier Hierro for the Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT); and Wandering Positions (Selections from the inSite Archive, curated by Donna Conwell as the inaugural exhibition of Arkheia at MUAC. For Wandering Positions, inSite commissioned Peruvian Giacomo Castagnola to design and build a new modular physical structure for the presentation of archival material that was also donated to MUAC.
The Agora (El Ágora)
Commissioned by inSite and designed by Mexican architect Gustavo Lipkau, The Agora involved reconfiguring and remodeling the 3,280 square foot former exhibition space on the ground floor of the Centro Cultural Tijuana to create areas for lectures, informal meetings, research and reading, and the presentation of the archives. In the design of The Agora, Lipkau and Hierro combined the open and stark spaces of the brutalist architecture of the CECUT, and by using wood as a bare and exposed material, they created flows between functional and malleable spaces capable of hosting very diverse programs in a warmer and more intimate atmosphere. The space held a temporary exhibit of the inSite Archive for the CECUT audience. This archive contains digital and printed material related to the work of more than 200 artists in the border area, as well as hundreds of hours of audiovisual material about events, process records and programs of the inSite editions, from 1992 to 2005. The Agora operated as an experimental space for public actions and exchanges until 2000.
Arkheia, inSite Archive
The University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC) in Mexico opened its Archive Exhibits program with the copy of the historical archive donated by inSite. Included in that donation was the display furniture commissioned by inSite from the Peruvian architect Giacomo Castagnola.. The exhibit called Posición errante > Wandering Position, Selecciones del archivo inSite > Selections from the inSite Archive was conceived and curated by Donna Conwell, then a researcher at the Getty Research Institute and who had been a co-curator of Interventions (Intervenciones) for inSite’05. The exhibit displayed a selection of projects produced by and for inSite, featuring artists such as Kim Adams, Terry Allen, Francis Alÿs, Carlos Amorales, Gustavo Artigas, Andrea Fraser, Silvia Gruner, Nina Katchadourian, Itzel Martínez del Cañizo, Steve Matheson, Javier Téllez, Mark Tribe, Judi Werthein, Krzysztof Wodiczko, and Yukinori Yanagi.
As described in the introduction and in the curatorial statement:
“Posición errante / Wandering Position includes the diverse documentation held in this archive, which not only records the different works but also serves as the means to re-activate those works in different contexts and for different audiences. Thus Wandering Position encourages the discussion and analysis of the links created between each work of art and the archive. The purpose of the document display is to erase the traditional line between archives and works of art, while urging the viewer to use the documentary material as a device to demonstrate the work processes of public participation projects. It also encourages different readings of the documents, audiovisuals and photographs as vehicles to preserve the meaning of works of art beyond their specific place and time.”
The Exposiciones de Archivo de Arkheia program that hosted the exhibit is directed by Pilar García who is now also in charge of the inSite Archive at MUAC.