Context & Culture Homepage

Subject: CCE - Context & Culture - 2015

VUIT Digital Arts, Victoria University

Teacher Name: Lisa Cianci - email:
Education Manager: Adam Hutterer - email:

Class Website -

Class 09 - Contemporary Art Practices & Creativity - artists & the archive

Class Activities

1. On Managing Creative Content - Artists & the Archive

How do artists engage with the archive as a basis for making art, and as a means of keeping art?

Many artists have engaged in some way with archives or archival material from personal artefacts, found objects, archives from institutions or documentation from other sources that becomes the basis for new artworks.

There are a few artists that also address archival and preservation issues in their work by undertaking processes and methods that are "archival" such as systematic documentation of some kind that becomes the creative work.

Today we will look at a selection of artists that either use archives and artefacts to make art, and/or use archival methods and processes in the creation of artwork.

Think about your own practice and if there are any processes and methods you already use that engage with the archive, or perhaps if you'd like to develop an area of your creative practice to work in this way.


Consider ways to create an online profile as an artist using methods & web technologies to both promote creative work and preserve it.

You are already developing your own online profile as artists - the blog is just one aspect of this. We will also undertake an assessment task (Task 2) that involves using some archival methods to document your own work, and the context for your creative practice. It will also involve the development of an archival statement for your own collection of creative material.



Artists & the Archive

Archives have become a "hot" topic in recent years, although it has always been something that artists have engaged with in different ways. How do artists engage with the archive as a basis for making art, and as a means of keeping art?

Over the next couple of weeks we will work on a project involving the documentation of your own work, and you will be considering the use of the archive in your own work.

Here's a brief intro to just a few of the many artists that have engaged with the archive over the past 100 years...

Duchamp's BoƮtes en Valises

Joseph Cornell's assemblages & films
Ubuweb -

Andy Warhol's Time Capsules

Fluxus Artists' "fluxkits", scripts and scores for performances

Mike Parr et al. - Inhibodress - a sarcastic article with some history of Inhibodress can be found here:

Francis Bacon's Studio

Sophie Calle & Susan Hiller - installations in the Freud Museum

Ilya Kabokov's Russian apartment art & "ropes" installation

Lyndal Jones' The Prediction Pieces at MCA archive and the At Home series documented as part of my PhD project

Yann Le Guenec's destruction of the archive - Le Catalogue

The "New Aesthetic" - what is this?


Can anyone think of other contemporary examples? The show at MUMA - Liquid Archive for example:


Read this article for an interesting take on archives & artists:
Archives: The Raw & The Cooked by Stephen Farthing,


See if you can find any other interesting examples of artists engaging with archives.


Homework / Readings

Follow up on some of the references provided today and the research done in class - if you find something that interests you, you might want to make a blog post about it.

Begin thinking about the next writing task & doing some introductory research on your selected area.



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