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Historically speaking: The workings of the past in a performance by Olof Olsson

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This article sets out to untangle the workings of the past in a performance by Danish-Swedish-Dutch artist Olof Olsson. Leaving behind the official documents of the Danmarks Radio (DR) Archive, Olsson explores the byroads of radio history through a miscellaneous assortment of nugatory documents and objects. The article proceeds as a close reading of aspects of Olsson’s performance using three figures described by Walter Benjamin – the collector, the storyteller and the historian – as points of reference. By tracing out the contours of these figures in Olsson’s performance, I am able to elucidate the subversive potentiality of his digressive narrative.
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Keywords: Performance; Walter Benjamin; archive; copyright; history; radio

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2015

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