Opening Tuesday 2 September 6-8pm
30 August – 24 September
To shred is to destroy. Documents are reduced to uniform, fine particles and rendered illegible. Information is lost, evidence evaporates, privacy is protected, and secrets are secured.
Document Control explores the over-abundant consumption of paper as a transitory medium for information. Despite advances in recycling and the current socio-environmental focus on a paperless workflow, paper production remains a highly unsustainable industry.
The images in this body of work utilise shredded residue from a multitude of destroyed documents. By assembling these shreds into structures and subsequently photographing them, paper simultaneously becomes the subject, the object, the medium and the message.
The works Aberration No.1 – No.4 are pigment prints on 100% cotton rag paper. Unlike the wood pulp and paper industry, the production of cotton paper is a highly eco-friendly and sustainable process, as no cotton is grown specifically for its production. The paper is manufactured from a recycled by-product of the textile making process.
These works depict a large, celestial-like sphere in constant flux. The suggestion of movement blurs together the individual particles, obscuring their paper reality.
The Cancatervate works in Document Control are ambrotypes. The ambrotype is a nineteenth century, wet plate photographic process whereby a glass plate is coated in collodion, sensitised in silver nitrate, and exposed in-camera, resulting in a direct-positive image. Ambrotypes were the predominant photographic process in the 1850’s. By the 1860’s glass was replaced by the more affordable substance, tin. With developments in methods and technologies, tin as a dominant photographic material was in turn replaced by paper. Since the advent of digital photography, the use of paper as a physical substrate for photographs has become less and less prevalent, as increasingly images are being viewed not in hand, but on screen.
This shift in the way we experience photographs precipitated my interest in the wet plate process as a way to re-explore the photograph as it was once considered – a tactile and precious object. The term ambrotype derives from the Greek word meaning immortal. Potentially, these images of paper ruins preserved on glass could exist as future relics. The works use an obsolete yet imperishable process to document a highly perishable and increasingly irrelevant photographic medium.