The Archive of Created Histories and Imagined Futures

A new direction to my practice prompted by an elective called Drawing from the Archive.

Throughout history objects have been worshipped, treasured and reviled. We use them to bring us luck and to traverse time and space to revisit the past or conjure up the presence of a loved one.  We all own an object who’s value to us far exceeds its material one.

I have talked previously about the properties of the art object but could it stand in place of the original or even to fulfil the need of an imagined object. Whether by giving a materiality to an internal longing it satisfies the original desire.

Are the only valuable artefacts authentic ones and the only precious memories true ones?

We often see the world us around as solid and material but in fact our reality is stitched together with the unproven, the believed. One of the things that makes  humans unique is our ability to believe in the unseen, to create the unbelievable and then have faith in its existence.

Our capacity to imagine and give life to those imaginings has led to our greatest moments in history but also is the source of our darkest shame.

Every scientific discovery starts with a ‘what if’, but also every war is bolstered by hollow justifications that are weaved into a false reality that perpetuate fear and hate.

Imagine an archive where they are tasked with storing and preserving all these imaginings, good and bad, responsible for protecting the most fragile and containing the most virulent fabrications of the human mind. Some like the oldest religions will have survived for thousands of years but others like a childhood ambition will soon fade away as adult concerns crowd in on that individual.

As part of the elective I created a piece of work called Finding Jonathan, the first item in my archive. It was prompted by a photo I found in The Royal Derbyshire Hospital’s archive but I am going to blog about that separately.

To report on my work I decided to continue to experiment and present in character, something I have never done before and wasn’t exactly looking forward to. Dressed in a white lab coat I became the head archivist for the  department called Individual Archive with a particular interest in Personal Longing. The items found in this section are created through hope and love and are some of the most delicate and ephemeral artefacts. I created a reception with a drawn phone, bell and in-tray, in my pocket were drawn pencils and scissors and I handed out a drawn pamphlet to my ‘induction members’. Because everything I do begins with graphite on paper it seemed right that my imaginings would be drawn, hopefully it helped to introduce a sense of ‘otherness’ and an element of fun to what might have been quite a sombre piece of work

Leaflet

Leaflet

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office equipment

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lab coat

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first entry into archive

It was just a short presentation but even though I was nervous it really helped me to test the idea, it would be wonderful to be able to expand this area of my practice further.