There will be lots more general output and reflection about the Living Archives participation at the recent AHA-festival in Gothenburg at the beginning of November. Here are some of my thoughts and output from those hectic and strangely reflective 24 hour experience. 24 hours that turned into a separate entity in the usual flow of time, cordoned off for a particular activity, a specific frame of mind, seemed like a daunting task. At the same time, we were querying the nature of archive and archiving from the point of view of re-enactments (the overall theme of our interventions as a research team).
What kind of archive, and archiving, is this?How is this worth anything as a process?
Working with the photograph projected onto bodies, living bodies, creates on the one hand a three-dimensional space that is eerily in tune with the photographic world only captured in 2D. A milk pail regains a rotund shape, hand feel less than flat lying against folds. Faces however are harder to capture and what happened instead was an intricate doubling, overlaying and erasure—by turns—of the photographed face with the projected-onto-lit-up face. When Temi [Temi Odumosu, my partner in the Close Contact project which was the impetus for our AHA-experimentations] bent down slightly, the black face of the woman with the bottles appeared clearly, staring back at me from the canvas of skin, her black skin coming back more acutely. This was a moment of realization that we were indeed, at that point, engaging in re-enactment. But what kind of reenactment? What kind of archive were we creating as pictures and videos were taken of our process?