Wednesday, 13 March 2013

How can you document an experience?

Through speaking to artists who make participatory work, one of the main challenges/concerns/problems that comes up everytime is how best, and if, to document. How can you document an experience? From who's perspective would you document? Will it impact on the work? Will it create a false representation? Who is the documentation for?

As part of the Intercourse project, artist Freya Dooley has been commissioned to explore this idea through her practice. She is currently making a body of work that investigates how documentation commemorates, impacts, changes or creates experience, with particular interest in first and second hand information.

Various 'snippets' of her thinking and investigations will be posted here as and when they emerge, and there will be a chance to see some of the works at the Intercourse seminar at the culmination of this phase of the project.

For now Freya leaves us with a quote that relates to a series of paintings she is working on:

“To suffer is one thing; another thing is living with the photographed images of suffering, which does not necessarily strengthen conscience and the ability to be compassionate. It can also corrupt them. Once one has seen such images; one has started down the road of seeing more- and more. Images transfix. Images anesthetize. An event known through photographs certainly becomes more real than it would have been if one had never seen the photographs- think of the Vietnam War. (For a counter example, think of the Gulag Archipelago, of which we have no photographs.) But after repeated exposure to images it also becomes less real.”
Susan Sontag (from On Photography)

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