Living Archive - Instytut Pileckiego

Living Archive. A laboratory for documentary comics 

Since 2019, the Pilecki Institute has been digitizing key documents from the 20th century in the collections of the Federal Archives, in accordance with an agreement signed between the two institutions. We want the archives and the stories hidden in them not only to arouse the interest of academic circles, but also to appeal to a wider audience with the help of documentary comics.

What is “Living Archive” about? We have established a laboratory in which a group of comic artists exchange ideas about twelve individual, short comics. We are open to experimentation with the format of the documentary comic, or the comic essay, and its narrative, as well as its informative and poetic possibilities, which are further enhanced by the integration of historical source material.

Over the course of the project, the participants will each create their own comic with a length of approximately 12–16 pages. The final result will be a joint publication edited by the Pilecki Institute and co-produced with a publishing house (tba). In monthly meetings, we discuss the various stages of the creation process of the comics, as well as deal with new aspects of documentary comics at each edition following lectures and research. The staff of the Pilecki Institute accompany the participants and offer advice and suggestions.

The artistic directors of the project are: Ulli Lust (comic artist, professor at Hanover University of Applied Sciences and Arts), Kai Pfeiffer (comic artist, lecturer, curator) and Monika Powalisz (writer, playwright, comic writer).