What is an Archive?

In the most basic sense an archive is a collection. It is also the place where that collection is held. Generally, archives are composed of primary historical documents. Unlike libraries, most of what is collected for an archive is unpublished and singular (there are not multiple copies floating about) and unlike museums, most archives deal exclusively in two dimensional objects – photographs, historical records, maps.. so much paper!

An important aspect of understanding archives, is questioning why we have them and what they keep. In most cases, an archive functions as a memory for a community. But it is also fair to ask, who’s memory?

There are many artists who utilize archives for their work and over the coming weeks we will look more closely at what they use and how. There are also artists who work with the absences in archives to make interesting observations about what is missing or has been left out and make queries about why that might be. It’s important to remember when it comes to telling history, there is always ‘someone’ doing the telling.

When working on your submission for ‘DOUBLE TAKE’ try to keep this is mind. By your choice of source image and the photograph you take, you are telling a story.