Ria Hartley

Myself Archive

passportMyself Archive is the first of four strands of the on-going research project The Genetic Body as Archive; (1) The Absent Body. It began during a dialogue with artist Cara Davies during her project Instability in Stability 

If we think about the body in its biological sense, its material physicality, we might consider this to be an archive, a living archive; continuously collecting, storing and retrieving information. My skin is a shell that contains the materials which allow me to function and live. My heart beats; lungs inhale and exhale oxygen, my stomach digests the external materials brought into the body. Each organ, with its unique and complex function, stays in place and is linked to the brain. My skeleton structure holds me up.

I have an interest in derelict houses and buildings. Some time ago I was looking upon a derelict house in Lanzarote, a Finca long abandoned. I thought about it in this way; we build houses to live within and like the body houses are structured with a skeleton, cavities and layers, they have a skin, veins and organs which power them. When we live inside our homes with give them life, we give them purpose. When houses are abandoned they begin to deteriorate, they rot and decompose like a body without life. This Finca was falling apart, nature had grown all around it and insects and small rodents burrowed and gnawed at its remains.

But what remains in this shell are the remnants of the past, information which depending on the lens we might choose to inspect this, can still communicate manifold. Its shell evidences its own existence. This is an empty space, yet it’s full of traces of memories and information. I am interested in exploring how artefacts can speak for bodies that have fled the space they once occupied, and yet still hold the traces of presence.

Looking at modes of investigating archives, records and genealogy reports which exist outside of the body, and can be accessed when bodies are absent and/or deceased, I am practically exploring how objects and other ephemera might speak for one’s identity when displayed together as a documented digital archive.


Next Post

Previous Post

© 2018 Ria Hartley