Personal Affects — Going into the Archive

Lecture/​paper (in English)

With the destruc­tion of the Cologne Archive, a thou­sand years of German history was projected into the rain and mud; but it also included the legacy of my Jewish family that had previ­ously already been marked by exclu­sion, during the Nazi régime – for in spite of having lived through perse­cu­tion and exile, my family had been fortu­nate enough to possess archived mate­rial, over and above our oral history.

Although much of my written and artistic work, before and after the Cologne Archive inci­dent in Germany had been related or dedi­cated to family history, I started to develop a series enti­tled Archive, in 2009, directly after the collapse of the Cologne Histor­ical Archive. Personal Affects – Going into the Archive is a lecture/​paper on some of this work but in partic­ular about the history of the bequest that my siblings and I entrusted to the Archive in 1998, following the death of our mother in London.

Eber­hard Illner, who until 2008 had been respon­sible for the depart­ments Collec­tions, Photog­raphy and Estates at the Histor­ical Archives in Cologne, had expressed an interest in collecting our legacy because my British-German-Jewish family had been cultur­ally active in Germany before and after the Second World War. I quote Illner, who since 2008 has been the Director of the Histor­ical Centre in Wuppertal, speaking about our legacy in a German radio inter­view broad­cast in January 2015:

You have to be aware that in Germany, not much has survived from this era, so that the deceased, suppressed cultural life in Germany was, or is actu­ally only recon­structable by those creative artists in exile, who have emigrated — you will only find authentic mate­rial there.1

And here a quota­tion from Kölnisch Wasser (Eau de Cologne), a video-perfor­mance of mine from 1993:

How came it to pass

that I lost you?

Once lost

will I ever find you again?


the uncon­scious?

1 Working on the Archive – The Artist Tanya Ury By Astrid Nettling Broad­cast: DEUTSCHLANDFUNK Radio — Cologne, Friday, 23rd Januar 2015, 8.10 — 9. pm (Trans­la­tion from German Tanya Ury)


Festi­vals etc.

2015 (29.4) Tanya Ury’s power point presen­ta­tion Personal Affects – Going into the Archive, featuring extracts from the videos Fury and archive burn out with a discus­sion, is being held at 17:00 – 18.30 at the invi­ta­tion by Prof. Dr.nDora Osborne’s at Princess Dashkova Centre, 14 Buccleuch Place, Univer­sity of Edin­burgh EH8 9LN, Edin­burgh (GB)

2016 (1.9) Tanya Ury presents Personal Affects – Going into the Archive as power point presen­ta­tion, Thursday, 1st September, at 17:00 – 18.30 hours, Kamienica Pod Anio­lami” confer­ence room, at Creating Alter­na­tives for Jewish Women in Europe”, the 8th Inter­na­tional Bet Debora Confer­ence of Euro­pean Jewish Women, Activists, Acad­e­mics and Rabbis (14.9. 2016), held by the Bente Kahan Foun­da­tion (Wroclaw), Czulent (Kraków) and Bet Debora (Berlin), at the White Stork Syna­gogue, Wrocław, Poland and the Pod Anio­lami hotel and confer­ence space, in Wroclaw/​Breslau, Euro­pean Capital of Culture 2016 (PL)

2017 (15. – 17.9) Tanya Ury presents a power point presen­ta­tion of Personal Affects – Going into the Archive (short version of the paper), 15:40 – 16:55 pm, 17th September, room 4, Manchester Museum, at the Tenth Inter­na­tional Confer­ence on The Inclu­sive Museum, Univer­sity of Manchester (GB)

2018 (14. – 16.1.) Tanya Ury presents a video docu­men­ta­tion of her perfor­mance concert archive burn out, filmed and edited by Freya Hatten­berger on 10th April 2014 in the Nazi Docu­men­ta­tion Centre, Cologne, with Suspended Beliefs”: poetry, text and impro­vised music: Tanya Ury (voice), Gernot Bogumil (trumpet), Kasander Nilist (double bass), Hans Salz (percus­sion), after a power point presen­ta­tion of Ury’s article Personal Affects – Going into the Archive (short version), 11.2012.40 pm on 16th January, at The Future of the Archive, Performing the Jewish Archive and Beyond, British Library, London (GB)

2018 (11. – 12.4.) Tanya Ury presents Personal Affects – Going into the Archive (short version), a power point presen­ta­tion and a short version of the Video-Perfor­mance Fury (2009), on 13th April (seminar 10 – 5pm) as keynote speaker at To Be Archived”, the Living Archives final event, curated by Temi Odumoso of Malmö Univer­sity, at Malmö Konst­mu­seum, Malmöhusvägen 6, Malmö (SE) livin​garchives​.mah​.se/…

Artist’s Writ­ings & Publications

2018 (spring) Personal Affects – Going into the Archive (short paper) with images — still from Fury, video-perfor­mance 2009 and photo (Tanya Ury) 2009 of volun­tary workers under­taking first aid in restoring damaged docu­ments, in the tempo­rary storage spaces of The Histor­ical Archive of the City of Cologne at Porz, after the Archive build­ings had collapsed — published (in English) in the Bet Debora Journal IV, Hentrich & Hentrich Verlag Berlin (D)

Scroll to Top