Scrapbook (a visual essay)

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Jonathan Carson
Rosie Miller

Abstract

Abstract: Working with a range of material (objects, ephemera, texts) characteristic of a scrapbook, Carson & Miller will produce a visual essay that investigates the experience of reading such matter in this often underrated and undervalued form. In this context the notion of reading (and, subsequently re-reading and mis-reading) will be utilised to explore the construction of narrative and the manner in which such narratives can present misleading, misinterpreted or inaccurate accounts of ‘things’. In doing so, such accounts can produce a multiplicity of new narratives.

            To develop this idea visually Carson & Miller will harness the tradition and format of a scrapbook. Scrapbooks imply the creative use of material which would be valued differently (or indeed undervalued) in other contexts; the inclusion of scraps in the scrapbook claims that which is defined as ‘scrap’ as valuable and worthy of possession. In essence a scrapbook brings together disparate material and is often constructed according to its own internal ordering and logic; sometimes things are related by type, sometimes unlikely objects are combined or juxtaposed in fortuitous encounters. Such fortuitous encounters tell their own stories but also produce new narratives through generating new combinations of significance (Allmer iv).

 

Résumé: Le matériau de base de Carson & Miller sont les divers objets, tant visuels que textuels, qu'on trouve dans un "scrapbook" (littéralement: album de coupures). En réutilisant ces objets, les artistes produisent un essai visuel sur l'expérience de lecture de ce type d'objets dans un genre souvent méprisé et peu pris au sérieux. En l'occurrence, la notion de lecture (mais aussi celles de relecture et de lecture erronée) sera utilisée pour investiguer la construction du récit et les manières dont de tels récits peuvent aboutir à des représentations trompeuses, mal interprétées ou inappropriées des "objets". De telles techniques de représentation peuvent produire une multitude de nouvelles formes de raconter. Pour le développement visuel de cette idée, Carson & Miller reviennent sur la forme et la tradition du "scrapbook". De tels livres rendent possible le réemploi de matériaux qu'en d'autres contextes on jugerait dénués de valeur. Le recours aux restes "grattés" ça et là voudrait montrer que ce genre de menus objets méritent eux aussi d'être conservés et appréciés. Au fond, un "scrapbook" offre un montage d'objets souvent disparates tout en obéissant à des principes d'ordonnancement ad hoc. Parfois les choses sont classées par thème ou catégorie, parfois des objets dépareillés se retrouvent ensemble de façon un rien hasardeuse. Ce type de hasards racontent leurs propres histoires, mais produisent aussi, comme le dit ailleurs Patricia Allmer, de nouvelles façons de raconter.

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Author Biographies

Jonathan Carson, University of Salford

Carson & Miller have worked collaboratively as artists since 2000. Their practice is driven by their need to tell and re-tell stories; recent work has increasingly used the book and the game as forms for collaboration. In 2009 Carson & Miller curated The Story of Things for Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections (14.09.2009 – 29.01.2010). Other work has featured in exhibitions including Swap/Vaihto (UK & Finland, 2008) and Universal Shipping Box (Argentina, Germany and UK, 2010). Carson & Miller have played a series of games in a number of gallery settings in Liverpool, Manchester and Berlin. Jonathan Carson and Rosie Miller are both Lecturers in Critical & Contextual Studies in Salford School of Art & Design, University of Salford.

Rosie Miller, University of Salford

Carson & Miller have worked collaboratively as artists since 2000. Their practice is driven by their need to tell and re-tell stories; recent work has increasingly used the book and the game as forms for collaboration. In 2009 Carson & Miller curated The Story of Things for Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections (14.09.2009 – 29.01.2010). Other work has featured in exhibitions including Swap/Vaihto (UK & Finland, 2008) and Universal Shipping Box (Argentina, Germany and UK, 2010). Carson & Miller have played a series of games in a number of gallery settings in Liverpool, Manchester and Berlin. Jonathan Carson and Rosie Miller are both Lecturers in Critical & Contextual Studies in Salford School of Art & Design, University of Salford.