Browsing Art and Design by Subjects
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Beyond Facsimile: The haptic photobook as a distributed archiveThis is a case study describing the development of a dossier format photobook as a distributed archive, Long Grove Asylum Medical Journal by Tim Daly. The work presents a twenty-five year long project recording the interior spaces, ephemera and artifacts of an abandoned large scale hospital facility, alongside material collected separately by a county archivist. The work makes explicit the link between past and present by re-materialising archive matter and original photography to create new, tactile ‘things’ that challenge our notions of the past and the present; public and private and the original and the copy. The books forefronts the materiality of collected photographs, documents and ephemera through touch and disruptive sequencing. By handling the loose-leaf contents of the books, viewers are presented with an enhanced, haptic reading experience. The recirculation of material artefacts within the dossier provides an additional kind of archive experience recalling souvenirs, the museum and private collecting. As Scott (2014: 130) suggests ‘The interaction between the book as a material object and its readers brings the book to life, just as the materiality of the book interacts with its narrative.’ Designed to be handled and navigated in a manner that wouldn’t be possible with fragile originals, the choice of papers, unconventional printing processes and hand assembly techniques creates an enhanced experience for the reader. Disrupting the reader’s expectations of a facsimile, the book encourages touch and explores a type of tacit knowledge that is unavailable from viewing alone.