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A r c h i v a l  I m p u l s e , 2 0 1 3


Archival Impulse takes its name from Hal Foster’s idea that by confronting the archive new systems of knowledge can be created. In this case I am confronting late 19th century and early 20th century photographs taken during the period of colonial expansion in Africa and the Americas. To do this I draw on images sourced from the Duggan Cronin collection as well as those of unknown photographers practicing at the time. Documentation of reconstructed villages and “native” performers that were “touring” Europe in Human Zoos also find their place in this series. The scholarship of Susan Sontag, Elizabeth Edwards, Okwui Enwezor, Jennifer Bjorek and Tamar Garb are also informative. In reading and comparing these texts I have found multiple angles for entering, interpreting and appropriating my reference materials/images. As visual experiments, these final images hopefully occupy a space between, and subsequently in evolution of, the images their scholarship address. I occupy the position of photographer, “subject”, “author” and editor of these images. While the work is consolidated into singular photographic prints, Archival Impulse is at its root performance-based work.

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