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.
Beyond Facsimile: The haptic photobook as a distributed archiveFor photographers and visual artists of all disciplines, self-publishing has grown exponentially through the use of digital print technologies and the Internet, providing new ways to distribute work to a worldwide audience. Annette Gilbert suggests contemporary practitioners now engage in publishing as art practice, renegotiating the traditional publishing frameworks of processes, institutions and discourses. Certain photobooks operate by re-materialising recent and archive photographs to create new, tactile ‘things’ that challenge our notions of the past and the present; public and private and the original and the copy. In the post-digital era, such books are made to be handled and scrutinised at close quarters in the personal space of the reader rather than behind glass in an art museum or library. Many photographers employ ‘thingness’ as reflexive strategy in their book works, and as Ivan Vartanian and Ryuichi Kaneiko observe, an astute choice of materials ‘can bring a heightened level of physicality to the photobook as [an] object.’ Bill Burke’s I Want to Take Picture (1987) and Donovan Wylie’s & Timothy Prus’ Scrapbook (2009), are both facsimiles of unique journals, where original pages are rephotographed and presented verbatim. Yet can a book that has been materially or reprographically enhanced ever become more than a mere facsimile?
Restoring the Faith: The repainting and maintenance of Catholic devotional statuary in IrelandCatholic statuary found in shrines and grottoes remains a familiar sight in Ireland despite the diminishing influence of the church in a swiftly modernising society. Most statues are cast from concrete, fibreglass or plaster, few are far from immaculate and many require ongoing repainting and maintenance from the pervasive damp climate. For a short period of time at the end of the twentieth century many sites featured repeatedly in the newspapers. Supernatural events including weeping madonnas, swaying statues and miracle cures quickly turned the most obscure location into a destination for both fervent pilgrim and curious sightseer. Established through different circumstances and events, statues symbolise the contradiction between approved church narratives and more local interpretation. Superstitious beliefs remain an enduring influence, especially at natural springs or wells which share a lineage with pagan rituals and Pattern Days. As described by Patrick Kavanagh in The Green Fool - the folklore, customs and practices connected with these sites had little to do with the church and piety was not an essential prerequisite for the visitor. Unlike more prestigious religious artefacts preserved in elaborately crafted reliquaries, outdoor shrines and grottos are widespread and constructed of less precious materials. Most are cast from concrete, fibreglass or plaster, few are far from immaculate and many require ongoing maintenance from the pervasive damp climate. Painted, repaired and continually retouched, they are blank templates for official stories retold in a local visual dialect.