'The Archive' is a study of how light can sculpt a range of different intimate experiences between viewer, object and environment. It is a journey through a sequence of different lighting conditions and archival collections. The space is influenced by Benedictine architecture and circulation systems, with a central cloister and external navigation. It follows the notion of submerging and emerging through light, inspired by the proximity and power of the river. Upon entry, the observer is cleansed through a series of different light conditions before they ascend upwards into the archival collections, paper and object storage, and finally the conservation labs. Ending the journey at the chapel, or top archival room, where there is a long outlook down the river which is framed by a pitched roof. The collections follow the same premise of the lighting, moving from the dark 'submerged' spaces featuring objects from the riverside into the light and glowing spaces where the located objects also move inland.
The concept of archive is highly politicised, with certain voices deciding which histories are worth preserving and which are disregarded. This has also led to a historical lack of public access, as with a lot of buildings with high academic status. I want to challenge this notion of archive by creating an open access collection which encourages community input, workshops to learn new skills and space to relax and engage with the physical surroundings. I want to celebrate the voices of the past by encouraging conversation and connection. This connectivity will form a bridge to welcome the changes to the area whilst revealing and preserving its intimate histories, inviting the communities of the future to build new stories upon these foundations.
Walter Benjamin- “Arcades Project"
“The trace is an appearance of closeness, no matter how distant the thing that it leaves behind. Aura is the appearance of distance, no matter how close the thing that calls it forth. In the trace we gain possession of the thing; in the aura, it takes possession of us.”