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Title: Archive play : on the role of the curator in mediating artistic interventions into photographic archives
Author: Schuppert, Mirjami
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 0126
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2016
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Without mediation archives are chaotic, and overwhelming. Archives need to be interpreted in order to be understood. However, the interpretations often conform to dominant cultural norms, and produce hegemonic readings. The aim of this PhD with practice was to establish methods whereby the contents of photographic archives can be made alive in the present and the future, and investigate the role the curator has in such an endeavour. This addresses the selective nature of the use of archives by initiating a collaborative practice with artists. In doing so, it explores how critical curatorial practice can contest the hegemony of the archive. The thesis analyses the practice element of the research project, which consists of commissioning artists to produce new works as a response to a photographic archive as an alternative means of interrogating photographic archives. The objective of the written element is to contextualise my practice and analyse the practice based research process. This was done by deploying the concept of hegemony as developed by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe as the underpinning of the argument. This argument was further supported by considering the curator as an organic intellectual after Oliver Marchart. The practice was reflected against a postmodern archive theory and particularly Jacques Derrida's conceptualisation of the archive. The thesis draws a picture of the archive as an open work, after Umberto Echo. Eventually, the term longue duree [Braudel], is used to investigate the longue duration of the research and exhibition process, which leads into building an argument that in the commissioning process that curator eventually has to let go. The practice element of the thesis entailed developing a curatorial practice. Here, I commissioned artists Hertta Kiiski and Niina Vatanen to produce new works as a response to the archive at the Finnish Museum of Photography. The works have been exhibited at the Finnish Museum of Photography (Helsinki) Golden Thread Gallery (Belfast) and published in a book format as Archive Play, (Kehrer Verlag).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available