Documentation is my Downfall by Michelle Collins
(Gallery still under construction)
DOCUMENTATION IS MY DOWNFALL/ A DIVA PRODUCTIONS RETROSPECTIVE (2008)
MIXED MEDIA INSTALLATION.
EVERY HUMAN BEING IS AN ARTIST……….Communication occurs in reciprocity: it must never be a one way flow from the teacher to the taught. The teacher takes equally from the taught. So oscillates - at all times and everywhere, in any conceivable internal and external circumstance, between all degrees of ability, in the work place, institutions, the street, work circles, research groups, schools - the master/pupil, transmitter/receiver, relationship. The ways of achieving this are manifold, corresponding to the varying gifts of individuals and groups.
Joseph Beuys : I am searching for a field character (1973),
Research has shown many artists over the past thirty years that utilise the archive within their works for various reasons that link back the anthropological which in turn have informed 'Documentation Is My Downfall' . I had come across an article ‘Walls without Museums: Anonymous History, Collective authorship and the document” by Ben Highmore who introduces us to the notion of the document and the practice of ‘documenting’ observing closely the similarities to an “anthropologist working with a view of culture”. He explains that
“The document is in a yet to be ordered state and in as much as documents remain relatively unfixed within a practise ( and perhaps relatively recalcitrant to be fixed), we could think of this practice as documenting rather than documentary.”
My Practice was document based (not documentary) , In my final year of my degree I invited the tutors and people who had influenced a direction within my work, to explore the archive of my education documentation and converse with me for any length of time for up to an hour. The installation was set up so that a role reversal would occur during the filming of the sessions with each tutor, we bounced around ideas and conversed about what was happening and what had gone before, the term Retrospective kept emerging from various participants. During the viewing of the videos gathered, I found I had created another archive, evidence of the tutor/student relationship that occurs within an institute but also of an artists’ thought process. There was a number of mistakes in the documentation of this piece, however, within the context I felt they were an extremely happy accident.
This piece was presented in the exhibition as A DIVA PRODUCTIONS RETROSPECTIVE.
The installation contained the six conversations, that have an interesting relationship with each other in regards to the sounds working together, the editing has been kept to a minimum exposing even the mistakes in filming as I felt it was highly appropriate to the piece.
The initial experience that the tutors went through in exploring the archive is offered for the viewers of the participation. The viewer will become part of the continuous creative exchange and become an artist themselves showing at the retrospective. The viewer is invited to explore the archive, choose a document which is to be photocopied by an Retrospective attendant, the document will be then placed on a wall that contains other documents by other viewers with the intention to create an archive of cultural documents. Each participant will be rewarded with a badge of their choice stating that they are either A) an artist, B) a critic or C) a curator.