Archive, Photography and the Language of Administration
Archive, Photography and the Language of Administration
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15.6 x 23.4 cm
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Table of Contents
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List of illustrations
1 The archivization of the image
2 The social archive
3 Catalogue, list, description
4 The archiving camera
5 Archival art, performativity and poetics
6 Afterword: the post-digital archive
Works cited

Reviews and Features

"Auch die Auswahl von Birkins Fallbeispielen ist durchweg überzeugend und innovativ. [...] Zahlreiche Beispiele aus der bildenden Kunst aber auch der Populärkultur (Mad Men, James Bond usw.) betten das doch recht trockene Thema der Katalogbeschriftungen in einen breiteren Kontext."
- Sophie Mayr (Wien), MEDIENwissenschaft 03-04 (2021)

"Archive, Photography and the Language of Administration is a substantial read. Bringing up information, theories, and references in significant density, it supplements and updates previous knowledge on both archives and its theories, hardly omitting any important detail in capturing the entire theme landscape. As such, it would be a valuable source for archivists of all kinds, but even more – it would be a great handbook for studies in the domain."
- Ana Peraica, Leonardo Reviews, September 2021

"Archive, Photography and the Language of Administration offers a series of provocative snapshots that demonstrate how the seemingly clerical work of classifying images—through their formal arrangement, their archival description or their adornment with technical metadata—is an inherently productive and creative means of translating between image and text and code."
- Shannon Mattern, The New School

"Jane Birkin guides streams of thought through the ubiquitous archiving of post-digital culture. She unveils a liquid archive whose practices constantly remodel and reshape the malleable materials we hold over from the past, haunted by the interplay of languages, images and objects. Lucid and comprehensive, with new insights on every page, it not only reformulates again the thriving field of archive studies, but observes the currents that shape a whole, emergent cultural ecology."
- Sean Cubitt, University of Melbourne

Jane Birkin

Archive, Photography and the Language of Administration

This alternative study of archive and photography brings many types of image assemblages into view, always in relation to the regulated systems operating within the institutional milieu. The archive catalogue is presented as a critical tool for mapping image time, and the language of image description is seen as having a life, a worth and an aesthetic value of its own. Functioning at the intersection of text and image, the book combines media culture, archival techniques, and contemporary discourse on art and conceptual writing.

Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin is an artist, designer and scholar. She is a visiting lecturer and research assistant at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, and she works on exhibitions in the University's Special Collections Division. The administration system of the archive is the primary locus of Birkin's writing and practice.