Tom Estes – Archive Fever

My immediate thoughts of  ‘Archive Fever’  were recorded on tape (lmao iphone)

I’ve done this style of ‘taking in the art work’ before, when I visited the Tate Modern Museum and I enjoyed my immediate feedback of the works. It gives no space for second guessing your opinion, like I would do in writings , so it was much more instinctive and honest.

I often feel fear in not understanding the work right or ‘not getting it’ but these arts are openly subjected to your interpretation. You might not receive the ideas as intended to be and that’s alright.

A film about this letter that….. uhmmm

let me watch it again

Wow i didn’t know there was a moon in the beginning

okay so my interpretation is that; upon one night, he was feeling nostalgic, as people do, and he wrote a letter ( I say letter but I meant email)

But there was an error, something with the address, it just didn’t send to its participants.

Then it cuts into this scene where he makes a brick and a screen print.

A screen print of some kind of coding? of the letter.

Its like that time where we saw this exhibition of the artists’ self portrait in a coding version, where he took the pictures of himself into a code and present that code on to the wall as a self portrait

Anyways so he made a screen print of that which must’ve took a long time to do that. He would have to ‘code’ the email, make a screen print, make the brick and then print on to the red brick.

And then, I guess he revisited that bridge he was talking about in his emails.

He broke the brick and tossed it into the river.

And then the camera shows the river in which slowly pans back into the red bricks that looks as if its been washed up into the shore.

It’s left there and its like when objects are washed up on to the shore.

This reminds me of our analogue themed project at uni where we didn’t use high tech stuff to create but rather this stuff (analogue) that requires step to step process

These analogues creates errors that leads to new ideas and outcome

So basically what he did is that, like back then, when you cant send the letters (actually paper letters), then you have to kind of let go of that you know cause there’s no one receiving

So like then he would go to the river and tear up the letters and throw away into the sea like this huge symbolic thing, an action of letting it go

Throwing away this feeling of that ‘ I couldn’t send the letters’

But emails cannot be thrown away like that. So he creates a physical embodiment that requires such process and time, to be able to throw away and get rid of it

I guess in the end, I kind of read his interview before hand so i’m slightly influenced by that (next time i must avoid spoilers), I interpreted his work as a reflection of how we now see information. How we now store and receive information. It may as well change how our brains work when consuming those information. I think he’s telling us to be conscious about it. To notice it.

*it is slightly edited because I am apparently incapable of forming understandable sentences so

Interesting excerpts from the interview:

It is a reversal to highlight the immateriality of digital processes.

“compulsive, repetitive, and nostalgic desire for the archive, an irrepressible desire to return to the origin, a homesickness, a nostalgia for return to the most archaic place of absolute commencement”

How do you think our present time will be experienced into the future? What would the future see when they look for our time.

Digital has been famously described as an amnesic technology. I’m referring for instance to Paul Virilio and Andreas Huyssen. What do you think about this? Do you think that ideas of memory and remembering are necessarily bound to material objects?

But the way we see things is changing too: the Google earth view of satellites, elevated car-sight of Street View and the facial recordings of CCTV. But even anonymity has changed. Anonymity and privacy were once the norm so you could get lost in the crowd. Now to be anonymous is in some way, to stand out from the crowd.


This part is about the interview for his work ‘overlords’

I’ve noticed that if you share something that has a tiny bit of text and a picture, loads and loads of people will ‘like’ it. But if you put a really fascinating article, you get only two likes. Then I started to think about art as a form of communication and its relationship to the audience. The fact is far more people were seeing my work online than they were in reality. And I thought, ‘Well, if that’s the system don’t fight it. Work with that.’ So I was deciding between making this work as a video or as a photograph, and at the end I decided to go with the photograph, because a photograph is more immediate and takes less time to be experienced. It’s not exactly Internet Art, because Internet Art is designed to be on the internet and very clearly exists only on the Internet. In my work there is kind of playing between the two. So I guess some would call it virtual but virtual space is very obviously different from real space. It’s the joining and overlapping of the real and the virtual that distinguishes my practice, I suppose.

But of course it was a natural progression as I was already looking at how our lives were dictated by film, television, mobile phones and computers. They  mediate our everyday life.

We no longer want objects that take up space, we rather archive them onto our computer in a digital world. This changes the way we archive art. Huge paintings are no longer as bought but sought through he internet.


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