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Private voices and public places: using oral histories in site-specific text-based art

Horton, Ian and Furnee, Bettina (2011) Private voices and public places: using oral histories in site-specific text-based art. In: [Record] [Create] Oral History in Art, Craft and Design, 2nd - 3rd July 2010, Victoria and Albert Museum. [Historical and Philosophical studies > History of Art
Historical and Philosophical studies > History of Design] (Unpublished)
 
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Creators:Horton, Ian and Furnee, Bettina
Description:

This paper examines the use of oral history in text-based site-specific public art practice. It highlights the features these two activities share and examines potential tensions when such artworks use oral history records as a key component in the final outcome. These issues are examined with direct reference to two projects, “Witness” and “Prisoner of War”, by the artist Bettina Furnee.

Oral histories, in aiming to record and archive people’s accounts of past events, must make reference to time and place. They are a record in the present time and place of events that move fluidly across both time and place through the act of recounting. It is argued that these features are also evident in site-specific art practices which similarly reference the history of place while being firmly located in the present moment of creation and/or reception.

Whilst oral history and site-specific public art share the features outlined above, the artworks examined in this paper highlight issues within the use of oral history in such practice. Oral histories can most directly be presented in an art context aurally. If they are to take physical or material form then the issue of editing becomes central to the practice unless a printed transcript is presented in full. This problem is explored in relation to Rosalind Krauss’ notion of the indexical, used in analysing postmodern artistic practices, and linked to the idea that the textual fragment can substitute for the archive itself.

Type of Research:Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed:public art, oral history
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company:Berg
Your affiliations with UAL:Colleges > London College of Communication
Date:02 July 2011
Related Websites:http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/journals/research-journal/issue-02/news-from-the-past-oral-history-at-the-v-and-a/
Event Location:Victoria and Albert Museum
Projects or Series:Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)
ID Code:4402
Deposited By:Prerna Bhatt
Deposited On:02 Nov 2011 14:00
Last Modified:06 Mar 2012 12:36
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