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RCA MA Print 2020

The Archive


Contents

Acknowledgements p5 Introduction p6 Cut and Paste p8 Objects in Isolation p12 RCA Print Contributions p17


Thanks The Print Department teaching staff Meg Rahaim Holly Graham, Helen Cammock and General Public (Elizabeth Rowe and Chris Poolman) for speaking in the talk The workshop leaders & workshop participants

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ARCHIVE

/’a:K^Iv/

noun a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or a group of people “source materials in local archives”

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An archive acts as a resource or memory. Within the expanded field of Print, many of us use the archive as a tool for preserving or presenting as

part of social or politically engaged work. While the archive tells us about the history of things, places or families; its discovery and exploration is as much about looking forward as it is about looking back.

FILE AWAY invites Helen Cammock, Holly Graham and General Public to discuss systems of working with archives in each of their practices. We will question the politics of the archive and how artists can play a role in enabling or encouraging public access to local archives.

As part of the series, Print students hosted workshops that explored the archive within the home and participants created work in response to those

archives. The results of these workshops are presented in part one of this publication and will be discussed at FILE AWAY.

We are emerging out of lockdown into a changed environment. Covid has initiated a unique dismantling of our institutions, collective behaviour and societal structures. During this crucial time, we must question the

politics of the archive and their historical and selective nature. Through

activating the archive, we are engaging with voices while questioning who is speaking and why they are chosen.

As a group of artists, we have spent time responding to this unique moment alongside the FILE AWAY series. This publication contains a

reflection on the FILE AWAY workshops, in addition to a collection of our works and thoughts in response to lockdown.

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Cut and Paste!

Cut and Paste! was a PDF activity sent out for people to complete in their own time.

In the years to come, many things about the Covid-19 pandemic will be forgotten or

misremembered, including how we each felt at different points during the lockdown. We

encourage you to create a text based artwork or poster (of any size), using materials you have lying around the house, to record and remember how you feel or what you are thinking about during this moment in history.

Chapbooks have historically been small, cheaply printed publications that contain stories,

illustrations, jokes or messages. These little publications have existed across Europe since the 15th century and offer an immediate, realistic insight into the culture of the time as their production was less controlled by the political powers.

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Instructions

This would be from anywhere newspapers, magazines, packaging, bills, wrapping or hand drawn.

It can be any size, format or style and can be made with collage, drawing, writing, digital media, photography or even a meme!

Include a short message, story, joke, hope, fear or idea that is important to you right now. Remember - send us a photo or scan of your artwork! We will compile a chapbook of everyone’s responses and email the complete digital PDF back to everyone who takes part.

rcaprintout@gmail.com 9


A selection of works made in response to the instructions..

Adam Wynn

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Miranda Yates

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Objects in Isolation

Objects in Isolation was a workshop which asked the participants to consider ideas around what constitutses an Archive within our homes and objects that might have taken a new place in the time of lockdown. Both workshops happened through Zoom, during June.

This workshop invites participants to make a live artwork on zoom initiated from your home archive. This archived object can be something that has sentimental value or has become

situationally connected to you. The experience of lockdown adds new narratives and emotions to our possessions, it has given us permission to focus on what is in front of us, to be more curious

with our limited surroundings. We look forward to meeting you in this very special live workshop, as we consider what objects have meaning in this moment in time.

What you’ll need Anything that you can make some art with. This could include: paper, envelopes, foil, clay, pencil, pen, ink/paint, soy sauce (ink/paint substitute), scissors, glue, books, cardboard, string etc.

Be creative, it doesn’t have to be the ‘normal’ art supplies. Make sure your fully charged laptop/ phone has a camera, microphone and zoom account.

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A selection of home archive objects and new works

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Contributors

Jiaxin Tang - 18 Lydia Hamblet - 19 Mengzhu Huang (Christina) - 20 Matthew Dowell - 22 Teresa Arede - 23 Mandy Franca - 24 Izzy Smithson - 25 Ruby Bateman - 26 Emily McGardle - 27 Cliff Andrade - 29 Pengpeng Chen - 30 Linlu Zhang - 31 EG1 - 32 Rui Shi - 33 Alexandra Mineham - 34 Ian Malhotra - 35 Yuxuan Wang - 36 Danbin Cao - 38 Robyn Lawrence - 39 Chenyu Shen - 40 Xiaoxi Yang - 41

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I recently had a romantic experience during what has been an extremely *insert overused sentence* strange and unprecedented time. I matched with someone on hinge (other dating apps are available) and quickly passed the first lockdown dating test - moving past the lack of pasta in supermarkets conversation. We immediately hit it off and bounced from subject to subject with a fantastic light-heartedness, something I was only too grateful for as I was dealing with a whopper of a break-up amongst all the other terrifying emotions that came with lockdown life. Talking to X became part of my bizarre daily routine: get up, think about going for a walk, decide to over-eat instead, then message X. We even graduated to zoom dating within the first week of talking, which was strangely enjoyable. It felt like we were kicking lockdown in the ass with how confidently we got to know each other over webcam, became regulars at talking on the phone into the early morning and attempted to watch TV simultaneously with headphones. We even did the-thing-thatcouples-in-long-distanced-relationships-do-over-the-phone… We virtually had it all. In so many ways I was having the online boyfriend experience, which is something I never thought I would do. But feeling connected to X under the backdrop of a pandemic fulfilled a variety of things I was needing at the time. Firstly, it felt amazing to feel desire for myself again. Having just been dumped and looking like a neanderthal in pjs on the reg, his attraction provided a much needed sense of empowerment for me. Secondly, the need to flirt and impress one another meant that the relationship didn’t remind us of our dwindling mental health from being shut indoors the whole time. Of course I love and appreciate the emotional ‘how are you doing’ chats with my friends and family, but it was also wonderful to escape all that with X - we were far more interested in pretending to be better versions of ourselves to one another. And thirdly, it gave me a sense of purpose and direction. There was something, GODDAMN SOMETHING, exciting in the wings when everything else looked so bleak and hopeless. On a particular zoom date at ‘the rooftop bar’ (as we liked to pretend) X said the most profound thing to me. ‘We have never looked into each other’s eyes before.’ So there we were, simulating ‘eye-contact’ by each taking turns to look at the camera. Staring into that weird digital void felt symbolic, dystopian and romantic all at the same time - and not just because I wasn’t gawping at myself on the screen for once. It was a defining moment for us and the absurd dating experience we were guinea-pigging - we were falling for one another through a digital interface. To tug at my heart strings further, I opened a package the next day and found he sent me ‘Normal People’ in the post, attached with a romantic message on the front. Things were really gaining momentum when we made a plan to visit one another when it was safe, and not in a Dominic Cummings way don’t worry. Then, three days later he called it off. Apparently the guy had zero feelings, which bewildered me until I remembered how much of a boy cliche that is: ‘I find it hard to get in touch with my emotions’. Only now do I appreciate the irony of X sending me ‘Normal People’ in the post. But then again, maybe forming real solid connections and emotions digitally is fundamentally flawed. Perhaps it’s all too much to put your heart online without the reassurance of physical contact. Whatever X’s reasons, what I was left with was a strange sense of loss for something immaterial. I felt ashamed even to feel loss because it was all virtual anyway and I could easily shutter island myself into believing it never existed. It opened up a kind of heartbreak I had never felt before, something that was far more elusive and frustrating. Moreover, I really missed the companionship of having someone to natter to into the night and escape the realities of a pandemic. I am sure that I’m not alone in this experience. Thousands will be sharing the same absurdity of zoom dating and heartbreaking, so expect dozens of TV Dramas and chick flicks fictionalising this phenomena in the near future. The moral of my story is, if you zoom date an artist finishing their degree under lockdown, expect that they will write about it cos they’ve got nothing better to do hun. x


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PrintOut - File Away  

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