• Beyond Facsimile: The haptic photobook as a distributed archive

      Daly, Tim; University of Chester (2019-03-15)
      This 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 archive

      Daly, Tim; University of Chester
      For 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?
    • Momentum, Gravity, and 'Sensational Facts': Attending to Interdisciplinary Materiality through Contact Improvisation

      Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; University of Chester (University of Malta Press, 2018)
      This chapter maps out some initial territory for examining how the movement practice of contact improvisation, a form born in the 1970s out of the explorations of Judson Dance Theatre artists, might be seen to offer a sensation and attention-based approach to matter. I suggest that such an attention-based practice can be understood as crucially interdisciplinary when viewed through the lens of new materialism. In doing so, I discuss the imaginative privileging of the sensate, characteristic of contact improvisation, as a frame through which to point to the significance of two further performance forms: the author’s solo performance Twig Dances and Min Tanaka’s Body Weather training. I conclude by identifying how these scores, which might be broadly identified as ‘contact [and] improvisation’ practices, open up questions of how performance philosophies that seek identification with, or question another, are significant to interdisciplinary investigations of materiality, including scientific processes. Such attention-based scores introduce new understandings of material entanglement, through embodied improvisation, which can be desirable to what this essay will call an experiential posthuman project. As such, ‘posthuman’ is understood in this essay as an approach whereby a collective set of forces, and attention-based processes, study material encounters through post-anthropocentric perspectives. I argue that such attention to materiality may be seen as interdisciplinary, when viewed as both a physical and imaginative performance practice.