Part 5: CONSTRUCTED REALITIES AND THE FABRICATED IMAGE

Project 2 The archive

Exercise

Question for Seller re-situates images in a different context and in so doing allows for a new dialogue to take place. Reflect on the following in your learning log:

  • Does their presence on a gallery wall give these images an elevated status?
  • Where does their meaning derive from?
  • When they are sold (again on eBay, via auction direct from the gallery) is their value increased by the fact that they’re now ‘art’?

 Question for seller (2004-2006) Nicky Bird

The project was motivated by her own interest in family photos. Bird purchased photos from e bay that nobody bid for, so she saw them as unwanted. She then asked the sellers “how did you come across the photos and what, if anything, do you know about them?”(Bird, 2017). She says that these responses were as important as the photographs.

Does their presence on a gallery wall give these images an elevated status?

I guess this will depend on what point you are measuring their status from. At the time they were taken they must have had status to the photographer/subjects but seem to have lost their status when sold on e-bay. Of course if status is measures by exposure to a wider audience then it has been enhanced by the exhibition.

Where does their meaning derive from?

Their meaning has changed over time. Their original meaning came from the photographer, though it seems that at the point of Bird buying them they had already lost this. However Bird has given them new meaning firstly by buying them, then questioning the sellers about their motivation for selling them and lastly by putting them in a gallery.

When they are sold (again on eBay, via auction direct from the gallery) is their value increased by the fact that they’re now ‘art’?

One would think that their financial value would have increased by making them “art” however when Bird resold them at the end of the project their value was still low, though she had raised their value slightly.

What I found interesting was Bird’s original motivation for the project, her sadness at the low value put on a representation of someone’s life, her intention to bring them more attention, and to question the value of “found photos”. Her work often “combines photography and interdisciplinary work often investigates the theme of photography and hidden history, portraiture and genealogy” (Villarreal, 2017), such as her project “tracing echoes” (2001)where her starting point was a photograph of a woman taken about 1885 and her longing for more information about them. She certainly seems to provide new meaning for old photographs.

Reference

Bird, N. (2017). Question for Seller (2004-2006) | Nicky Bird. [online] Nickybird.com. Available at: http://nickybird.com/projects/question-for-seller/ [Accessed 21 Jul. 2017].

Villarreal, I. (2017). Question for Seller – Nicky Bird. [online] Artdaily.com. Available at: http://artdaily.com/news/18960/Question-for-Seller—Nicky-Bird#.WXStNojytPY [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].

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