Initially/instinctively I felt the urge to explore on my own what the theme of document/archive meant, and could mean, to me. My role subsequently became a role of primarily research - providing context and reflection against which the result of our collaboration could sit.
I reflected on and explored my own reactions and ideas concerning the theme, thinking about its relevance to my own work and blogs. The concept of documenting has been of great interest to me for a while and there’s so many ways it can manifest itself. In my work in the past I have focused on such intriguing forms of modern documenting and archiving as social media platforms and blogs. I’ve looked at artists using Facebook as a medium (e.g. Ian Aleksander Adams, Beach Sloth, and Moon Temple), and artists like Arvida Bystrom, Maisie Cousins, and Joe Skilton, who all use photography and digital compositions which incorporate and often make fun of digital worlds full of awkward interaction, idealised teendom, and tacky graphics.
I have found a plethora of artistic and cultural examples of works that explore the theme in various ways, such as Michael Landy’s “Break Down”, Tracey Emin’s “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995” and “My Bed”, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s frantic, diary-like paintings, and various Channel 4 documentaries which act as odd windows into the lives of people the documentaries encourage us to simultaneously feel sorry for and laugh at.
At the beginning of brainstorming, the larger group came up with lots of ideas ranging from interactive crowd archiving projects to photo-documenting projects (I really liked the idea of photographing people’s bedrooms). Our smaller group discussed the possibilities of making a documentary about a small English town, which would feature residents talking about what they appreciated about the area. It was clear this idea was about the people, and that reminded me again of diaries - such a great mode of documented expression. I took to my own exploration of the theme by making photographic zines - mini diaries made in a short space of time - time capsules on paper. This was my own physical and photo-based manifestation of what our documentary might be - not necessarily traditional, perhaps a small trinket, a time capsule of someone’s thoughts at one time and one place.
I would have liked to have a more active role in the making of the work as well as the decision making and progression therein. I think the circumstances felt somewhat constricting for all of us and had I the chance to redo this unit I would definitely aim to take on more of involved, propelling, leadership role.
I think I learned plenty about the incredible potential in diving into the topic as my research progressed and focusing on the theme helped me to understand more about my existing creative practice, which I hope will gain greater clarity as a result.