One week this Thursday and it will be the exhibition opening. I feel quite calm about it and thankfully mainly on track. I am now at a point of thinking about my talk, going over my research and attempting to make some sense, in words. I have been dipping in and out of a number of books throughout this study, mainly those exploring the field of Archaeology of the Recent Past which is also referred to as Archaeology of the Contemporary Past or Archaeology of Us, amongst other things. This area of archaeological research is of course of huge interest to me. The debates and discussions dealt with in the writings on this subject are in so many ways talking about what I am doing and help me to draw comparisons and parallels between motivations and thought processes.
However I am a pilferer, an impostor and at times things have become a little blurred. I guess in the way an undercover officer might get so drawn into their adopted identity, they start to believe it; I may at moments have confused what I was doing as archaeological investigation, rather than artistic. At times the process and performance of it seemed to have challenged my own perspective and identity. All the way through this project there has been constant tension between motivations as an artist and my ‘pseudo’ identity as an archaeologist. This tension/confusion/blurring has however, turned out to be a crucial part of the research and the outcomes that will be on display next week. I have realised just how much common ground there is between the two fields, both complimentary and challenging. As an artist I seek to question an everyday landscape, that is buried deep within the ordinariness of being local and available. Archaeologists also are concerned with uncovering the everyday, investigating how the shape and geography of those same everyday places link us with the everyday of the past. But as I have found out, archaeology isn’t defined by a search for ‘history’. As a discipline it’s defining characteristics are arguably more specifically related to a search for alternative narratives, a re-imagining and heightened awareness of how we understand our place in the world now through narratives about past relationships to the everyday places we inhabit. We are both, archaeologist and artist, working from a contemporary point of view and looking for contemporary explanations to provide new perspectives on society now.
The cross-disciplinary experience has been an enlightening one. The opportunity to develop and challenge my own practice through the engagement with another has provided me with a chance to see outside my own potentially more insular perspective and opened it up to much wider possibilities for interpretation and understanding.