Remembering and Forgetting in the Archive: Instituting ‘Group Material’ (1979–1996)

University dissertation from Malmö Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts, Lund University

Abstract: My PhD submission is made up of a constellation of three elements that form a body of textual material / theory and practice event / exhibition. (1) A dimension of critical writing or dissertation that has two parts: (a) Retrospective / Prospective: Activating the Archive, September 1, 2010, and (b) an accretion of further analysis, Archive, Archived, Archiving, September 1, 2011. (2) A testing of both archiving practice and its historical representation is carried out in the arms of the larger investigation, the book, Show and Tell: A Chronicle of Group Material (London: Four Corners, 2010 ISBN: 978-0956192813). Show and Tell demonstrates a primary analytic situation for the problematics of my research. (3) An exhibition Ever Ephemeral: Remembering and Forgetting in the Archive (Signal – Center för samtidskonst, September 23, 2011 – November 13, 2011, and the Inter Arts Center, September 30, 2011 – October 30, 2011). Ever Ephemeral encompasses the triple functions of producing, presenting, and testing research. It will bring together reference points, in the forms of artworks, artifacts, publications, and writings, which are evocative of key concerns imbedded in the subject terrain. These include the plasticity of history, archiving and unarchiving, ways art can give history form, and chronology and counter-chronology. The inclusions lay open specific dialogues, which have contoured the research arena. Appendix A The following textual components are part of the exhibition, Ever Ephemeral: Remembering and Forgetting in the Archive. Alejandro Cesarco, Present Memory, 2010, text compiled by Cesarco, produced as booklet in exhibition. Timeframes: A Conversation, 2011, dialogue between Ault and Andrea Rosen about their decision to disperse Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s collection of clocks rather than archive them when he died. The clocks have been gathered from their respective owners for the occasion of this exhibition. The conversation is a take-away booklet in the exhibition. Julie Ault, 4195.6 feet: Geography of Time, 2010, text on James Benning (dir) casting a glance, 2007, produced as handout in exhibition. Julie Ault, Historical Inquiry as Subject and Object, 2010, essay on Group Material archive and book project, a take-away in exhibition. Doug Ashford, Julie Ault: Group Material. AIDS Timeline (Hatje Cantz, dOCUMENTA (13), 2011, ISBN 978-3-7757-2881-2) Rasmus Röhling, Self-Titled, 2009, text by Röhling imbedded in his work and a take-away in the exhibition. Julie Ault, Roni Horn, a compilation, 2010 ongoing, text that derives from researching Horn’s journals to compose a personal chronology of the artist; exhibited in relation to a set of artists books by Horn. Extract produced for exhibition. Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Portrait of Julie Ault), 1991, the loan form for the work includes the text, materialization specifications, and terms of agreement. Appendix B A digital version of Show and Tell: A Chronicle of Group Material (London: Four Corners, 2010 ISBN: 978-0956192813). Show and Tell is data and evidence of a major test site for the problematics of my research. This body of research aims to illuminate the retrospective and prospective dimensions of archiving in practice. It investigates the consequences of registering previously unhistoricized art field events and practices into enduring public records. Additionally the research tests particular methods of historical representation that draw on the archive. Imbedded in this investigation is consideration of “exhibition” and “publication” as presentational forms for historical research. The liberties and limitations of each format are evaluated in the inquiry.

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