BIOmatters is framed within a future Bioarchive, which exists both physically and digitally. The model of an archive was chosen as a vehicle that can layer, interconnect, categorise and historicise narrative. As the project, has highlighted a number of prevalent yet complex themes, an archive was also chosen as a platform to bring together a web of complex debate through speculative artefacts. And to compliment multi-disciplinary outcomes of creative practice ranging from photography to biogarments, to biosamples.
An archive requires a system, cataloguing, preservation and an archivist. Through this process I have become the archivist, it has helped me to question the work in different ways, Derrida argued, “The archivisation produces as much as it records the event” (Derrida, 1996, p.16). I have found that working in a manner where I am ‘archiving the future’ has pushed me to ensure clarity in the artifacts as individual pieces and as a whole collection. And to question how much archives will or will not change, when this process of archiving holds such importance to the artifact, event and people who engage with it. The archive is formed of 3 key components:
The digital archive takes the form of a simple website inspired by the VADS, an online resource for visual arts used by universities such as Goldsmiths, UAL, UCA and research centre’s such as The Goldsmiths Textile Collection from The Constance Howard Centre and The Crafts Study Centre, UCA Farnham. The digital archive holds photographic works that are only available online as well as photographic records of the physical artifacts. It also contains all of the artifact information in the form of core records, which have been designed to build narrative around the objects. The archive can be found online here: https://hwestwood1.wixsite.com/bioarchive
The physical archive is a series of archival boxes of the objects that have been cleaned and conserved. Some pieces are stored together, for example the biosamples; others have their own boxes. These pieces have been designed as an exhibition piece where visitors would engage with the objects as if in an archive. The archive comes with handling gloves and labelling that correlates to the digital records where more detailed artefact information can be found.
The labelling system for the archive has also been developed from the VADS online resource, looking at different types of artefacts from shoes, to textile samples, garments and photographs. Key categories have been picked to develop different parts of the narrative from date to production method, copyrights, materials to techniques used, size to information about the object, keywords to source and accession. This allows the scenarios and narrative to discuss issues such as IP and ownership of bespoke biomaterials, technological developments, biofacturing methods, new tools and techniques, how different parts of industry may emerge or new aftercare and disposal systems.
Design - Hannah Hansell
Photography - Hannah Hansell