Julie Louise Bacon | A to Z of the Archive

A to Z of the Archive

  • 15 Jul

  • jbacon

This short film takes the form of 26 black screens that appear one by one, each featuring a group of pixels that transforms into minimal and abstract shapes, resembling constellations or geometries. Each visual flux is accompanied by a letter from the Roman alphabet, and shortly after by a word beginning with that letter, and a voice-over reading a related text. The texts are drawn from a variety of sources, including philosophy, poems, encyclopaedias, and my own writings. As such, they range in tone, from historical account to poetic imagining, from anecdote to factual summary, from incidental to overarching narrative. From one foundation point, “A for Alphabet”, to another, the origins of hypertext at “C for CERN”, to “S for Synapse.” The 26 screens of the alphabet are ‘book-ended’ by an introductory and a concluding index screen.

In the film, there is a push and a pull between voice, visual abstraction and text. The work explores the development of alphabetical writing as a form of memory that shifts the experience of temporality for the human. It suggests that developments in the ways in which being is inscribed through language reflect a deeper relationship between technology and consciousness.

The work was first screened as part of All This Stuff : Artists and Archives, held at the White Cube gallery in Bermondsey, London, in 2013. It was also shown in the exhibition Collective Histories of Northern Ireland X at the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast, in 2013.