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Future’s Past: Exploring the archival legacy of Expo67

  • Author(s): Ciccone, Patricia
  • Advisor(s): VanCour, Shawn G.
  • et al.
Abstract

This thesis addresses the dynamics and logics of public archival encounters in Canada. It examines the historical and national fantasies produced through the reactivation of archival records by focusing on four artistic interventions created for the 50th anniversary celebrations of Expo67 in Montreal. Informed by Svetlana Boym’s twofold categorization of nostalgia, restorative and reflective, I frame these artistic interventions in relation to the archival and exhibition spaces that give shape to their production and examine how the affective impacts of nostalgia become mediated through them. Relying on field notes, observations, interviews and a variety of online sources, I perform discourse analyses of these artworks and question who gets to speak through these public archival interfaces. Concerned with the many ways power, national identity and affect intertwine in archives, this thesis looks at what nostalgia, as a critical tool and framework, can tell us about the way our collective memories are shaped.

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