• Unsatisfactory devices: legacy and the undocumentable in art.

      Bartram, Angela; University of Derby (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)
      Regarding perception of ephemeral artwork when lost to the fractures of time Peggy Phelan states “you have to be there.” For Phelan ephemera, specifically performance “become[s] itself through disappearance,” which draws empathy with Walter Benjamin’s notion of the “aura of the original.” In practice this a less than pragmatic account of the reality of experiencing such artworks, for how can they exist beyond the moment of making if not recorded, in order to map their histories? This essay interrogates the critical, sensitive and individualized distance necessary to archive transient artworks. Moving beyond the disciplinary ghettos of event and documentation, it interrogates how divergent and sympathetic modes of practice allow for a greater level of sustainable critique. This complex and problematic terrain is analysed in response to The Alternative Document, an exhibition I curated on the subject in 2016, and suggests archival possibilities beyond formal academic, artistic and museological conventions.
    • When the image takes over the real: Holography and its potential within acts of visual documentation

      Bartram, Angela; University of Derby (MDPI Open Access Journals, 2020-02-15)
      In Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes discusses the capacity of the photographic image to represent “flat death”. Documentation of an event, happening, or time is traditionally reliant on the photographic to determine its ephemeral existence and to secure its legacy within history. However, the traditional photographic document is often unsuitable to capture the real essence and experience of the artwork in situ. The hologram, with its potential to offer a three-dimensional viewpoint, suggests a desirable solution. However, there are issues concerning how this type of photographic document successfully functions within an art context. Attitudes to methods necessary for artistic production, and holography’s place within the process, are responsible for this problem. The seductive qualities of holography may be attributable to any failure that ensues, but, if used precisely, the process can be effective to create a document for ephemeral art. The failures and successes of the hologram to be reliable as a document of experience are discussed in this article, together with a suggestion of how it might undergo a transformation and reactivation to become an artwork itself. Available in the edited book, 'Holography: a Critical Debate Within Contemporary Visual Culture' by Andrew Pepper.