By Caroline Bartlett
Abstract: In this paper, I offer an explanation of my own working art practices as set within the context of the spaces of the archive and presented as a series of questions arrived at through action, illuminated in turn by anthropological theory. Over the last few years I have examined various museum collections, archives and encyclopedias in relation to the way these knowledge systems both represent and promote the formation of individual and collective identities, memories and value systems.
Artifacts located within museological and archival systems can be powerful sensory and social forms in which different meanings and memories are embedded, but their significance can be obscured rather than revealed by the systems which control them. How we experience these objects within the physical, material, social, and political spaces of the archive leads to questions about how these sets of relations interact and what can be understood from this. In this vein then, and in the context of the tactile and sensory orientation of my own textile art practice, I look at four of my site-specific works produced in relation to the spaces of the archive: Overwritings (1999), Storeys of Memory (2001), Bodies of Knowledge (2002) and Conversation Piece (2003), focusing in particular on the latter, and show how investigation into different collections has prompted the making of new aesthetic objects which comment on and attempt to draw out these relations. Read full paper
Abstract from: In the Spaces of the Archive
Full paper published in craft+design enquiry: issue 1 Migratory Practices