Archive Fever: Photography between history and the monument

Mindmap of key concepts in Archive Fever essay

Archive Fever Mindmap

This is a very full essay that covers a lot of ground and makes some significant points about the nature of the photographic archive and the role of artists as archivist. I wasn’t sure how best to tackle it so in the end I decided on a mindmap as that helped me capture what I felt the key points were and I could see an overview of the whole essay. The irony of having to categorise and create a typology is not lost on me! I suspect that seeing the Archive Fever exhibition would have given additional context but as that was not possible I have worked with the text and researching some of the photographers individually.

I take from the conclusions the point about the archive acting as a site of suture between past and present, event and image, document and monument. This has helped me think differently about the archive and that it potentially has a more dynamic role than I might have imagined. The mindmap also allows me to keep coming back and revisiting my interpretations.

Two points of interest emerged for me in my reading of Archive fever:

  • The notion of artists reading archives ‘against the grain’ and in so doing creating a new archival structure
  • The relationship between ethnography and the archive and the exploration/question of cultural meanings