Art-science interactions in the destruction of an archive: the after | image project
Reichelt-Brushett, A & Cooke, G 2017, 'Art-science interactions in the destruction of an archive: the after | image project', Leonardo, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 121-126.
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The after | image project is an inquiry into notions of material memory and forgetting and their intersection with archival preservation and dissolution. The project involves the intentional destruction by the authors of a photographic archive using various acids, chemical compounds and oxidizing agents; this destruction is recorded using time-lapse macrophotography. The authors thus challenge the often-intense human desire to retain a record of the past, a “hard copy” of memory. In the process of destroying the negative film, the authors create something new and by doing so are afforded the opportunity to revisit memories and their materialization within photographic media. In theoretical terms, the article focuses on the notion of “repeatability” as a trope that foregrounds the intertwining of artistic and scientific approaches. Collaborations like after | image facilitate the development of knowledge that is underpinned by both aesthetic qualities and experimental design and is thus both artistically and scientifically “true” at the same time.