Module 1 Assignment: Research Proposal
Work in Progress title: [My Grandmothers] imaginary museum
“A Presence inert to time and space, it’s not so much an image as the trace of the act of seeing”
(Graham Clarke, The Photograph, 221)
Is the act of seeing the same as the act of remembering? Am I meticulously recording my grandmothers possessions along with their stories so as I can remember? Or are these images I am making for the viewer to make their own judgements about? These are all questions I intend to spend the next three modules researching, investigating, making and taking to come closer to resolving.
One takes a photograph in the present in order to be able to look back on that moment and remember, reflect and treasure in the future. Modern day memory making is now more accessible and frequently used at the touch of a button on our phones…which makes me wonder whether the meaning of photographing for memory has changed over time. We now use technology and social media as a way to archive our memories, sharing them with people, but do they hold the same weight of meaning, emotion and importance when they are so frequently showcased and so easily accessible? These photographs and artefacts that my grandmother has collected over time have such a significant meaning and sentiment to not only her as a record of her entire life but also to that of my growing up as her grandson and the accumulation of my own memories.
However, I believe that this collection encourages personal reflection of ‘memories’ and family history for that of an objective viewer. The museum like way in which she has displayed these moments in her past is as if they are exposed to whomever wants to look closer, observe and ultimately reflect themselves.
Through my practise I am not adding to, but taking on the role of preserving my family album. I have spent a great deal of time looking closely and inspecting the traits and the characteristicsof the already cemented images in our familyalbum. Charlotte Cottons description of the snapshot aesthetic (which is where my fascination for the archived image and the family album derived from) runs true with many of the images I have looked at both on the walls and in the cabinet, when she talks about the …. “out of kilter framing, blur, uneven flashlight, the colouration of the machine rented snap…” (Cotton, C) All aspects of the modern day family album which will be lost with perfect digital copies stored on the cloud or on hard disks in computers. The tangible object is slowly dying out to be replaced by pixels of memories. It is for this reason Its incredibly important to me that the end product of this works is to be a tangible object in the form of a hand made book and exhibition. If I get to exhibit the work I want the viewer to be faced with questions about aspect and size which I have reflected in my work in progress portfolio submission through displaying the dimensions I intend the printed images to be. I would like to look at ways of displaying the work online which could mirror the viewers response to the images as if on the wall of the gallery.
Further research with regards to output of the work will involve looking at dedicated website hosts that have a zoom function to be able to look inside the cabinet in close detail as well as the possibility of VR tour software to see the work. Although there is a strong possibility this will end up looking too much of a gimmick; but this is something I would like to explore.
Fox Talbot talked about “Photography’s museological dimension”. My grandmothers house has a definitive parallel to this relationship between photography and the museum. All items are displayed for the viewer to see in a shrine like appearance. Maybe this is somehow linked to the fact that my grandmother has always lived in vicarages and rectories because of my grandfathers role as priest? Again this will form another thread of my research.
I would like to continue the idea of collaboration whether it with the viewer or with my grandmother or both. I was recently introduced to the collaborative project Vox Populi by Fiona Tan where collaboration is at the heart of the work which has asked further questions about the idea of collaboration and how it could work later on…
From this, and as I develop the work and increase my understanding of my research, I plan to look further into post photography. …”Given the abundance of pre-existing visual material in our hyper-documented world…” ( Allison Meier )
Questions/ thoughts raised so far
- What it is I am looking for?
- Who is the work for / My Audience / Output
- What is Post Photography?
- Ideas surrounding the Archivist and the Photographer
- Photography and the museum?
- Viewer participation
- Is the work more about its output and the role of the viewer?
Gallery and museum visits - Houses turned into Museums - ie Anne Frank’s house/museum http://www.annefrank.org/en/Museum/From-hiding-place-to-museum/Saved-from-demolition/
Falmouth University Student support - To Improve reading skills as there will be a great deal more reading of theories and philosophy to underpin my ideas and image making.
National Science and media museum
Foam Museum workshop programme.
Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC)
Photographic History Research centre
London Centre for Book Arts
I shall be spending approximately 25 hours per week working on this investigation depending on freelance commitments. As I don't live near my family I will be travelling home as often as both time and financial restraints allow. A major part for me so far has been the opening up of a dialogue about the work, my grandmothers possessions, and stories about my ancestors with both my grandmother herself and my mother. This will continue throughout the investigation and wont be included in the schedule as it will be such a fluid continuous process.
Sustainable Prospects will look at why I am making this work and what is my responsibility to the audience and also to my grandmotherand other family members as collaborators. I will start to look at the contemporary photographic market and how I can advertise this work to potential galleries and how it will aid my commercial photographic career. As I hope in the future to work in higher education teaching photography I hope to get some experience talking about my work both in its theoretical and physical placingsto gain experience in talking publicly and also in aiding other students with their work.
Informing Contexts will give me the space, enthusiasm and guidance to really underpin my practice within philosophical, theoretical and critical theory. I will look at the relationship between Memory and Photography, Historiography and why we make photographs in the structure of the family album. The familial hierarchy or authorship where in particular Freud talks about the patri, matri, and sibling archive. Where do I fit into this hierarchy as grandson? Is this a different kind of authorship as I am really rephotographing images that have already been made.
The Surfaces and strategies module will be spent looking at the output of the work. This will be mainly the investigation of the book binding and large format printing processes. I will be exploring how my audience will view my work and what level of audience participation there will be as I would like it to be more of a multi-sensory experience in some shape or form.