Photography as markers for navigating memories of the recent past
(University of Northampton)
Paper short abstract:
This paper will discuss how the outcome can be increased access and interest and add to the exiting narratives through research where fine art research, community engagement and critical heritage meet to examine alternating narratives in homogeneous spaces in a non-hierarchical structure.
Paper long abstract:
In the Oral History project Talking New Towns I have found the original collection of photographs commissioned by the Development Corporation withering in a cabinet, emitting a foul vinegar odour. Like the memories of the original 'pioneers' of the new town, the photographs are breaking down, hopefully paving the way for collecting a mosaic of private photographs documenting inhabitants private lives in contrast to the formal posed dream of the perfect community. While organising the already recorded oral history interviews from the 80 and conducting new interviews, I hope to be able to break down the black and white image of the creation of a model community, while exploring parallel narratives. The paper will focus on and a discussion of the value of oral history quotes, compared to the visual statement of a photograph. How does the visual and oral narrative work together and how do they contrast each other? Does an artistic approach lend more freedom to a project? Trained as a fine art photographer with experience in digital publishing in a museum context, I am interested in how to keep collections accessible and in play, in the on going re-negotiation of collection's visual documents and how they can be reread in new formats and contexts. The basis for the paper will be a discussion based on the writing of Alan Sekula, Okwui Enwezor and admiring the research method of Defiant Gardens by Kenneth Helphand.
Archives, Art and Text