'Keepsakes' National Archives Project In Our Minds
I was struck by the notion of the role of the archivist as the ‘keeper’ or custodian of historical records and documents. I was also fascinated by how the minutiae of life and its unguarded moments have become an unintentional commentary on our social and political histories. The act of selecting, cataloguing, preserving and public display had created multiple narratives for these artefacts.
I wanted my work to reflect this transformation and reinterpretation of meaning, so I chose to use hand crafted glass sheets that underwent several processes. The glass was cut and used to construct forms that are architectonic, and reference the construction of the very imposing facade of the National Archives building. They also echo the shape and geometric order of the boxes used to manage and preserve archival material. However, the nature of the process meant that the glass was uneven and contained traces of the making process, so there is a sense of an unravelling and a reordering of the archival material.
The small scale of the work suggests notions of preciousness, and prompts an intimacy between the viewer and the viewed. Each piece is engraved with found fragments of narrative, which illustrate how language was fundamental in engendering feelings of shame. There are intentional voids within the piece that allow the viewer to respond by superimposing their own memories and stories in relation to their understanding of these words.