The archive is a real existing thing within the resource room at Transmission. This room also contains a library and a collection of slides and other visual material left at the gallery by artists for viewing by visiting curators or other researchers in the days before digital documentation. A physical encounter with archival, promotional and research materials, as well as with the art on display and the gallery committee, was a key part of the pre-Internet Transmission experience. Such an encounter enabled different kinds of collisions to occur between artefacts, people and ideas than might now take place in the digital era.
Unlike the archive sections on other gallery and museum websites, we have opted to use ours as a means to record the subjective experiences had by both invited and uninvited guests in our resource room. The invitees often have a direct relationship to some of the materials, perhaps because they have been a committee member, an exhibitor in the gallery, a regular (or irregular) visitor over the years, or because they deposited documentation of their work in the slide-bank. They are invited to spend three days in the resource room, and pull out any number of materials they wish, digitise them, and arrange and interpret them in any way they find interesting in this section of the website. We are also open to others who we have not invited directly to come and do the same, and anyone who publishes their findings on the website will receive two years free membership.
We have also decided to allow the memories of these encounters to fade over time, so archive projects will only be displayed here for two years, echoing the way that the committee structure of the gallery functions. We do this in order that guests feel able to take risks in what material they use and how they choose to interpret it, knowing that their proposal is an asterism to the Transmission programme’s constellations, a temporary and experimental joining together of different artefacts drawn from different times, spaces and registers – extra lines drawn across those historically embedded within the fabric and the psyche of the gallery.
Our archive page seeks to set the instability inherent in witnessing against the stability of the archive, generating small pockets of knowledge and alternative readings that are allowed to be lost as new ones are produced. In this sense we hope to replicate Transmission’s status as an institution that does not learn, but rather publicly documents learning. Committee members take their learning with them, leaving an imprint of the processes, relationships and lines of enquiry that they pursued for both their own ends and those of the Transmission community, during their two-year stint at the gallery.
Elsewhere on this site is a limited digital archive of recent exhibitions, but if you came to this section looking for information about exhibitions or events from further back, or for very specific information about recent exhibitions or artists, then please call or email us, and we can go down to the resource room on your behalf. If you live nearby, then come and see our archive for yourself – it’s open all the time, and much better than looking at a screen.
Archive projects will begin to be rolled out over the coming year.