8 Months of War: A Public Archive

Brook Andrew

8 Months Of War: A Public Archive was an interactive work-in-progress where the public were invited to collaborate with the artist by either dropping into the space with news clippings, letters, personal stories and reflections or by sending email and faxes to build up an archive of connections exploring the nature of conflict in the world.

Displayed in vitrines or press boards, red string joined particular related materials together creating a sculptural map of diverse opinions on such topics as invasion, extinction, rites of passage, personal histories, and violence. This included the History Wars in Australia and abroad, front line reports from USA, Iraq and Afghanistan about the war on terror, Sri Lanka and the Tamil people, Guantanamo Bay, tabloid race politics, out-dated historical cultural perceptions, species extinction and environmental war.

At the end of each month, a new installment of 8 Months Of War: A Public Archive began and the previous months accumulation/interactions were stored. Andrew then developed a series of lithographs derived from the contents of the archive. Using the formal devices and effects of collage, the reading, writing, reception and experiences of histories are at the heart of this work.

While the archive is used to create taxonomies, there will always be information and people that are marginalised in the creation of the dominant narrative. Jumping Castle is an ironic reference to the role of the museum in the creation of knowledge systems. Also a work-in-progress, Jumping Castle was a life-size children's jumping castle that commemorated/celebrated Australian Aboriginal and other peoples who were taken from their homelands as part of the international anthropological body trade as freaks and curiosities for circus and museum collections.

During this residency Detached hosted a weekly public forum. Each of these events featured a guest speaker directing a conversation, giving a unique perspective to the work exhibited that correlated to the artist’s approach in creating the public archive.

Read the artist’s exhibition notes here.

Dates: July 30, 2009 - July 30, 2010

Location: Detached, 7 Campbell St.

8 Months Of War: A Public Archive

8 Months Of War: A Public Archive