This practice research thesis investigates creative approaches to ‘the archive’, through the making and analysis of contemporary art works that are located across and between screen-based, live, and installation art forms. The methodology focuses on encountering and responding to moving image collections, in particular films where the body is instructive, active and moving. Artistic strategies include the creative re-appropriation and enactment of archival material that interrogates the relationships between artefact, body and digital space through the use of archival scenarios. This aligns with Uriel Orlow’s concept of the ‘archive thinker’, where artists test the nature of archives beyond a singular collection and include the socialising potential of their content. This thesis, which includes a number of video and installation artworks, responds to the increasing availability of digitized and online historic film and video material. It also deliberates on the destabilising effect when an archivist, librarian or specialist is not available to help to discover and contextualise historic online content. It considers the shifting mode of analogue to digital access and takes a playful approach to these concerns through archive thinking. In this, the performing body acts as an agent and interlocutor to translate and enliven the digital archive and to free historical records from an object based taxonomy. As such, this enquiry aims to produce artwork that explores how to counter or extend archival content, testing the relevance of, or necessity of having access to, the provenance of originating material.

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