Subject: CX4 - Context & Culture 4

Course: Diploma of Visual Art (21885VIC)


Unit of Competency: VPAU014 - Manage creative and professional self
School of IT & Creative Industries, Faculty of Workforce Development, Victoria University

Teacher Name: Lisa Cianci | email:
Course Coordinator & Education Manager: Alan Morgans | email:

Class Website -


Class 12 - Managing creative content - Series

Class Discussion

Artists and the Archive.

Discuss excerpts handed out last week:

Hal Foster's "An Archival Impulse" - what do you think of these "impulses"? discuss concepts such as:

Post-production (secondary manipulations & the changed status of the work of art in a digital information age)

The idea of archival artworks as "many promissory notes for further elaboration or enigmatic prompts for future scenarios"

"not only draws on informal archives but produces them as well" - this relates to the Derrida quote I gave you last week: "The archivisation produces as much as it records" (from Archive Fever).

"the desire to turn belatedness into becomingness" - ideas about the "open artwork" - many contemporary artworks may be (as archives are) in a constant state of becoming. there are no definitive and finite interpretations or answers. Some artworks are propositional in nature - posing questions rather than seeking to solve problems.

Sophie Calle & Susan Hiller - installations in the Freud Museum (see handouts) From Spieker text "The Big Archive" - discuss these "interventions" in a traditional archive/museum collection.

Are there elements from these texts that you can relate to? can your think of other artists that use the archive in interesting ways?

Foster mentions Gerhardt Richter in his text. His online archive/catalogue... is an interesting example of the "archival impulse" across a significant artist's enduring practice

Richter's website is a high-level online catalogue - probably dynamic, so that new content can be added as his work develops and exhibitions are held and texts are written. What is interesting is that some of the work itself is archival - certain editions are actual inventories of other works. You can see how archival process and a conscious conceptual use of the archive is present in his work from the 1960s.


Future-proofing for Artists

Class Activity

Series Description - Write an archival description and statement of intent for the broad series of artworks, projects, events or installations that you have produced this year. Considers all of the implications discussed in the module – specifically looking at:

  • Source (Content, concept, theme, what is the work? What is it about?);
  • Environment (Environmental elements - location, geospatial, time/place);
  • Installation (How is the work presented to the audience? How is it installed in the exhibition space? What installed elements form the work? Are the elements physical, virtual, analogue, digital?);
  • Technology (Formats, media, technological requirements for creating/presenting the work);
  • Interaction (Audience engagement - how does the audience interact and engage with the work? Is it active, passive, participatory?);
  • Intent for preservation and future re-presentation of the work (How would you like your work to be presented/represented in the future? Are there any limitations? How open is the work to reinterpretation?).


When considering grouping series of works, in archival theory and practice, series are formed from "logical" groupings of items according to format, type, content or function. Keeping this in mind, you may consider different ways your works can be grouped.

Some works are consciously created as part of a series where you continue to develop ideas, techniques and/or practices over time, so the series is formed naturally or organically.

If this is not the case for your work, you may form series by grouping drawings as a series, paintings as a series, 3 dimensional works as a series, or you may group artworks based on a theme or concept as a series regardless of their format (see Richter's website for a good example of how his work is divided into series - although what is missing is a more archival description of the series overall).

Each of you may form your series in different ways - there's no right or wrong method, and it should be fairly apparent to you what the series are. You may also include non-art works in your series descriptions if relevant.

The Series should contain a brief Description of the above elements, and should also include the following:

Extent: number and extent of items in the series (dimensions or general description of the material)

Date range: the date range of the series - does it span years? months? etc. Is the series ongoing or complete?

You don't need images for this stage of the descriptive guide to your work, but next week the Inventory/Catalogue which lists each item within the series will require an image, so make sure you have digital files with you for next week's class.

The Inventory will include finished works, but may also include preparatory works, documentations, plans, instructions and other support materials.


You can save your work as Word docs or OpenOffice files - whatever format will allow you to keep working on the assessment task.


Homework / Readings

Read Kabokov's "The man who never threw anything away"

Keep adding content to you blog

Work on the third assessment task - managing your creative content - you should have your Artist Statement, Collection Description and Series Descriptions complete by next week's class.





As this is my special area of interest, you might like to peruse my online exegesis titled, "The Blackaeonium Project: Workspace/Keeping-Place - An Archival Continuum of Creative Practice":


for some more direct links...


websites Artbase

Variable Media Network / Forging the Future

DOCAM Research Alliance

Digital Lives Research Project


Artnodes #10

Dublin Core Metadata Standard

Archival description - ISAD(G)

Archives/Records Continuum



Dekker, Annet (ed) 2010, Archive2020: Sustainable Archiving of Born–Digital Cultural Content, Virtueel Platform, May 2010

Derrida, Jacques 1996, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, University of Chicago Press, USA

Dietz, Steve 2005, “Collecting New Media Art: Just Like Anything Else, Only Different”, in Bruce Altshuler, ed. Collecting the New, Princeton University Press: Princeton and Oxford

Eden, Xandra (curator) et al 2008, The Lining of Forgetting: Internal and External Memory in Art, Weatherspoon Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Enwezor, Okwui 2008, Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art, International Center of Photography, New York, USA and Steidl Publishers, Göttingen, Germany

Fino-Radin, Ben 2011, Digital Preservation Practices and the Rhizome Artbase, Rhizome at the New Museum, Rh

Harding, Anna (ed) 2002, Potential: Ongoing Archive, p.51, published by Artimo, Anna Harding & the John Hansard Gallery, viewed 12/01/2012, <>

Manoff, Marlene 2004, Theories of the Archive from Across the Disciplines”, Project Muse portal: Libraries and the Academy, Vol. 4, No. 1 (2004), pp. 9–25. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore

MCA 2012, MCA Contemporary Art Archive, Museum of Contemporary Art, viewed 03/01/2012, <>

Merewether, C. (ed) 2006, The Archive: Documents of Contemporary Art, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK and The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Morris, Frances 1998, “Art Now: Sophie Calle”, Tate Online, Tate Britain, viewed 10/10/2010, <>

Pederson, Ann 2001, “Basic concepts and principles of archives and records management”, Understanding Society Through its Records, John Curtain University, viewed 12/03/2007, <>

SAA (Society of American Archivists), 2004, Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology, Society of American Archivists, last viewed 17/9/2004, <>

Spieker, Sven. (2008). The Big Archive: art from bureaucracy, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, The MIT Press (Copyright, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Warnke, Martin & Wedemeyer, Carmen 2010, “Documenting Artistic Networks: Anna Oppermann’s Ensembles Are Complex Networks!”, Leonardo, Vol. 44, No. 3, pp. 258–259, 2011