Photography And The Archive
Photography and The Archive is a new GRAIN research partnership and collaborative project with Birmingham City University and Stuart Whipps. Participants will be drawn from students studying the Arts based Masters postgraduate program. The research-led project is site specific and responsive to material housed in The Library of Birmingham Photography Collection.
The relationship between photography and the archive is as old as the medium itself. Photographs were adopted by the emerging state apparatus of the late nineteenth and early 20th century as documents of indexical veracity. These archives had functions as multitudinous as the images themselves and were applied for both mundane clerical purposes, and to reinforce complex ideological positions. With the development of advanced technologies, both analogue and digital, this system of archiving and use has become more nuanced. Artists and photographers have been responding to archives for as long as they have existed, and continue to engage with the aesthetics and politics of this application of the medium.
This project explores the definition and application of Documentary Photography in relationship to the archive through theoretical and practical methods. It interrogates ideas of objectivity and demands a broad and inquisitive approach to questions on the uses of archive material, from a historic and contemporary perspective.
Participants will take the Bournville Village as a starting point and catalyst for the production of new work. The project will culminate in a public exhibition and a new publication. Article Press and the Library of Birmingham will co-publish a book that presents examples of collaborative practice.