I’ve been thinking about the readings and contemplating the variety of ideas, practices and theories presented. Archives and collections fascinate me. And although I didn’t exactly set out to create an archive for my first year project, I did have to figure out a way to track and “store” my collection of invisible things that I was gathering. Just the idea of it brought up so many interesting and complex questions and ideas.
One thing that especially struck me while going through these readings was the realization of how subjective an archive can be. Just as a painter has free rein to rearrange a landscape to meet his or her own personal aesthetic sensibilities, and an editor is able to embellish certain details of history and omit others so as to tell the story he of she wants to tell… archivists too can manipulate the story that’s told through objects in a collection.
While I think the problem with this kind of manipulation of facts/history/artifacts is pretty evident, it’s also interesting to think about how creative and peculiar one can be with an archive, like Tacita Dean and Thomas Hischhorn are doing.
Imagine someone has a large collection of shells or rocks and this person decides it would be a good idea to archive it. There are practically an infinite amount of data points that can be gathered from each specimen – color, size, shape, elemental makeup, date and location of where it was found, etc. But what if the archive focused instead on not the cold, hard, scientific facts, but other, more ephemeral, less concrete details. Like, what if the focus for the archive was to present data on how the person was feeling when the shell was picked up and what exactly was going on in that person’s life at the time? Well, it obviously wouldn’t be an archive one would find in a natural history museum, that’s for sure…
The readings have given me a lot of food for thought and I think the workshop will be especially useful for me as I develop my own archives and start traveling around with my Invisibility Lab.
Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about a topic that has always interested me and makes me excited!
POSTED 15 JULY:
Dear Angeliki (et al)
I am sorry I do not have my reading diary ready for you yet.
A major flood happened in my studio a few days ago and I am overwhelmed trying to do everything I can to manage this disaster and get my place back in order before leaving for Berlin next week.
I promise I am reading the texts and am very excited to be in your workshop!
See you soon!
Briefly explain your understanding of the text(s), what problems they address, which questions they answer (and how) and which ones are left open.