Flash / New Ancestors, 2012
Flash / New Ancestors, 2012

Flash/ New Ancestors, 2012. SD digital image projection from 165 colour stills taken at the Lenton Parr Library and home library on two consecutive days 14 & 15 September 2012, 4.55min, looped [New ancestors, 2013, City Library, Melbourne; Docklands Library, 2014, Melbourne.]

A self-organising work made using systemic constraints of apparatus, adjacency, quotation, the library and the meandering nature of thought and memory.

Thinking specifically about artists who live as ancestral voices inside my head, I sourced 165 printed images of artwork from two libraries over two consecutive days. I photographed the reproductions using the flash on my digital camera with the lens held in close to the page.

Following an associative process, free from historical time, I began with an image by Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas, and then thought of another artist or particular work, say Fischli and Weiss, and so on. When I was unable to locate a reproduction I took the next book in the catalogue stack. Sometimes I simply found something else on the way and in this way began to think of the search as a shifting ontology between subjectivity and art history.

I have made a paratactic montage in which the flickering gait of the apparatus effects both an extinguishing and reparation. There is a continual transposition of image into material and material into image. The image surround, codex and edges of the open book are often visible. The flash over-exposes part of the image to create a formation that is close to ‘emptiness’ or the white of the page. As luminous matter, it fashions a new archaeology of image.

The projection contextualizes and animates the photographs and lends a provisional and haptic aesthetic unity. The spatial staging, using wooden plinths for registration and a customary viewing height, reflects the historiographical and anthropological frames of library, museum and archive.

A kind of gathering or stacking, this rhythmic temporal ensemble of images becomes something closer to material rather than further away. The sequence loops without pause. Whoever watches, for however long, intersects with and becomes part of the viewing apparatus in the constantly shifting present tense of reflection.