The next six months is going to be a highly active and exciting time for the Artist Archivist project. I have accepted an invitation by the Archives & Records Association conference to present my work in Glasgow. All I can tell you to expect right now is to expect the unexpected. This will be anything but the usual conference paper & powerpoint slides. Instead, I hope to be presenting an art installation work.
The key word for me is transformation. For the last three years, my artwork in some shape or form has been based upon or influenced by the contents of Scottish archives. I used collage to recreate the archive records, questioning whether my creative work could capture reliably the records contents. I have sketched the romantic isolated archive space. The more I worked, the more I built a body of work visually documenting my experience of working within an archive.
Increasingly it is the relationship between the artist & archivist, and their behaviours, which is transforming the work. To clarify I am one individual who is both a professional artist and archivist. I treat both professions as individual entities, one that shapes the other.
Currently the archivist has begun to review all art records & supporting documents, appraising the informational value of each, documenting the activity and purpose of each creation. A draft catalogue arrangement is being created. My objective is to establish an Artist Archivist Archive and present this as an installation piece at the ARA conference. It is the two unique perspectives of each profession which is growing this art work.
There will be a search room available for visitors to order art records and talk with the Artist Archivist. You can ask questions such as is this art? Where is the value in actively engaging creative communities? Maybe you would like to make a few drawings of your experience of the conference? For myself it is a chance to present my artwork and show you what happens when an artist engages with the archive.
This is a highly ambitious creative project. Over the next six months I will be regularly updating this website with articles capturing the progress of the project. New ideas that are emerging. It is a very ambitious concept for while I am establishing the archive, reading lots of content, of course I am also continuing to make artwork. Undoubtedly more questions will emerge than I can answer.
I have realised it will not be logistically possible to present all my artwork within the installation. Critical questions emerge as to how to curate this information. The archivist will need to make a selection and make available records that represent the informational value and activity of the overall project. The artist will need to curate the available content & engage the public with it.
There are layers of complicated contexts and concepts that the artwork can take. This individual article can in no way predict or inform you as to what is going to happen. I suspect even this article reveals the enormous amount of refinement needed as well as the exciting potential of this work.
This is an organic project, one of which I invite you to engage with. If you would like to suggest archive collections / records / or even other artists / researchers to make art about, please do get in contact with me. The art I produce is just as much shaped by an audience than it is the artist & archivist.